Political parties welcome SC's negative voting verdict

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 27, 2013 14:09 hrs

New Delhi, Sep 27 (IANS) Political parties, cutting across party lines, Friday welcomed the Supreme Court verdict allowing negative voting in elections, saying it will have a long-lasting impact on the Indian polity.

New Delhi: In a significant verdict, the Supreme Court Friday said the voter has the right to negative voting by rejecting all the candidates in the fray by exercising the option of "none of the above" in electronic voting machines and ballot papers.

Ajay Maken, head of the Congress' media cell, said: "In principle, we have no problem with it but there are certain issues for which we want to read the entire order."

He, however, added: "This order doesn't say anything new because earlier also people who did not want to vote for lack of choice did not go to the polling stations. Now, they can go to the polling station and register their protest."

Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit said: "I welcome the Supreme Court judgment, it will help cleanse the electoral system."

Gujarat Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, in his blog, said: "I wholeheartedly welcome this. I am sure it will have a long-lasting impact on our polity and will be a great step in the direction of further electoral reforms that can make our democracy even more vibrant and participative."

BJP leader Balbir Punj said: "The Supreme Court judgment is a welcome step. It is the voter who is the ultimate boss. Any change in rule, which enhances the right to vote, should be welcomed. It strengthens democracy."

His party colleague, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, added: "Most important is that the government should take steps to bring in electoral reforms ... the Supreme Court verdict will have to be read in its entirety as it has many complications."

Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal said: "We welcome the Supreme Court judgment. It's a very important step to clean the system in our country today."

Janata Dal-United leader K.C. Tyagi said: "I welcome this judgment. People should have the right to reject. It will empower the voters of this country."

Terming the verdict as a "minor" aspect of electoral reforms, Left parties sought comprehensive changes in electoral laws, including steps to curb money and muscle power.

"The CPI(M) has been advocating comprehensive electoral reforms but these important issues have not been placed by the government before parliament so far," the party politburo said in a statement.

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