Former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi Wednesday said NOTA (none of the above) would have no consequences on election verdict but batted for the continuation of the option to curb impersonation and exert pressure on political parties to put up better candidates.
He said more than one per cent votes have been cast consistently for NOTA in different elections, and the option has fourth largest vote share at many places. "But personally, I don't think it's (NOTA) taking us anywhere. I don't think it will become a big factor (in Indian elections) nor it's having any consequence," Quraishi told PTI. In the recent Assembly elections, NOTA votes reportedly declined in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram but increased in Telangana, compared to previous elections.
In the Madhya Pradesh elections, for example, NOTA got more votes than victory margin in 22 seats, while it was the case in 15 segments in Rajasthan. Quraishi said NOTA option needs to be continued to thwart attempts by political parties to field impersonators during voting.
"It needs to continue for a different reason at least for impersonation...otherwise suppose NOTA was not there if you don't like anybody you don't go there (to vote). Politicians don't mind because they will put up impersonator for you to go and vote," he said. The Election Commission's intention to introduce NOTA was to ensure that "impersonators cannot go and vote", Quraishi said.
"Our idea was to make sure if you don't go, there is no possibility of impersonator impersonating you".
Asked if he saw NOTA altering electoral verdict in elections going forward, he said: "That, in any case, is ruled out". On NOTA votes being more than the margin of a win at many places, Quraishi said it happens when the margin of victory is very small. "But there is no implication on the results". He said the idea of NOTA was also to exert "some kind of a moral pressure" on political parties to put up better candidates.
(With inputs from agencies.)