In a first, None Of The Above (NOTA), which provides voters with an option not to vote for any of the contesting candidates, will be available for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. The MLAs, scheduled to vote in the August 8 Rajya Sabha election, may choose not to vote for any of the contesting candidates. Congress is protesting the EC notification on the issue, while ruling NDA is claiming that the issue is out of Central government’s purview and Supreme Court and Election Commission are the right institutions to deal with it.
Here’s what the issue is all about:
– It is the first time that NOTA is being introduced in Rajya Sabha polls. Crucial Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls are scheduled for August 8. Heavyweights like BJP chief Amit Shah, Union Minister Smriti Irani, Congress leader and Sonia Gandhi aide Ahmed Patel are contesting the elections.
– It should be noted that Rajya Sabha elections do not take place by secret ballot. The voters in these elections have to show the marked ballot to the party’s polling agent before putting it in the ballot box.
– In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the strength of the Congress has now gone down to 51 from 57. The recent desertions have has put a question mark on fate of Patel in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.
– Congress fears that some of its MLAs may defect/or will choose NOTA, ultimately resulting in an unsuccessful election for Patel.
– It has been reported that Congress has moved 44 of its Gujarat MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru to guard them against being “poached” by the BJP.
– On Tuesday, Congress raised the issue in Upper House and questioned as to how a change can be brought without bringing an amendment to Article 324 – which deals with all the elections in the country. “It vitiates the election… Constitution has not been amended. Representation of People Act has not been amended. NOTA has been introduced…unless Constitution is amended, how can this be done,” Anand Sharma, a senior Congressmen asked.