New Delhi: A section of voters in Delhi chose to exercise the newly-introduced 'None Of The Above Option' (NOTA) option on Wednesday saying they have "little expectations" from any of the political parties engaged in the electoral battle.
"This election has given us a unique opportunity of pressing the NOTA button," said Arvind Tyagi who listed a host of problems faced by his colony in Vikaspuri in West Delhi. Echoing his views, a voter who did not wish to be identified said that the NOTA option should have been introduced long ago as the "Constitution has guaranteed everyone to exercise their rights".
The apex court had given the path-breaking verdict this September, holding voters have a right to reject all candidates contesting polls in a constituency by pressing NOTA. Following the court order, the Election Commission had introduced the option in assembly polls for Mizoram, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and now Delhi. Scores of voters across the city said they exercised the NOTA option to "alter" the nature of political contest.
"Last year and my family members and I did not cast our votes. We had given letter to the authorities rejecting all the candidates. This time we exercised the NOTA option," Baliram Sharma, a resident of Laxmi Nagar, said. A number of youngsters at BJP's chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan's constituency in Krishna Nagar also said they did not vote for any party and instead pressed the NOTA button.
However, a large number of people in South Delhi said they were not aware of NOTA. "No, we are not aware of any such options available to us (voters). I knew only that we had to choose from one of the candidates," said Lalita Sharma, a housewife from Chhatarpur constituency at a Model Polling Station.
In Malviya Nagar constituency, sisters and first-time voters Ritika (25) and Sangeeta (24) were unaware of any such options existing for the voters.
Voters of the old city area, that includes Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, Matia Mahal, were also unaware of any such option available to them. Poonam Nagar, a voter in Sadar Bazar constituency, had no knowledge of NOTA.
"I did not know about this option. In fact, it is now, after casting my vote, that I came to know that something like this exists," she said. Asked if she would like to use this option in future, Nagar said "it is not going to make a difference. We should vote for the contesting candidates."
Anwar Ahmed, a voter from Chandni Chowk who was disappointed with all the candidates, said "people are not even aware about it let alone using the NOTA button." said said. Another voter of Sadar Bazar constituency termed the use of NOTA as "wastage" of franchise.
"It is useless. Better stay at home than coming all the way to the polling booth and vote for no one," he said. Another young voter said uneducated people and most senior citizens have no clue of NOTA. It is only among the young and educated voters that this latest feature is being discussed.