Chennai: The Supreme Court's judgment Friday allowing 'negative' voting by incorporating "none of the above candidates" option in the electronic voting machines and ballot papers is a first step towards forcing a repoll, said a cross-section of people.
Welcoming the judgment, former chief election commissioner T.S. Krishnamurthy told IANS: "Way back in 2001, the election commission had suggested incorporating the 'none of the above candidates' option in the ballot papers. But the legal opinion we got was not in favour of such a move."
Queried about the theoretical possibility of over 50 percent of the voters in a constituency opting for the "none of the above candidates" option and the way forward, he said: "Eventually, there will be a demand for repoll if majority of the voters have expressed their dissatisfaction with the candidates standing in the election."
"There can be an amendment in the law to provide for such situations," he added.
According to people to whom IANS spoke, the possibility of more than 50 percent of the voters rejecting the candidates in the fray exists even now. Under Rule 49 O of the Conduct of Elections Rules, a voter can officially declare that he/she is not interested to vote for any of the candidates in the fray.
"People did not exercise that option as there is lack of secrecy in the existing system and the availability of the option was not widely known," said P. Sudarsan, coordinator for Tamil Nadu chapter of Association of Democratic Reforms.
He said there should be a repoll only if more than 50 percent of the voters in a constituency exercised the "none of the above candidates" option as India does not have the system of proportional representation.
"This is one convoluted system of right of recall to the people," he added.
"I feel as if I have won a crore of rupees in a lottery. We have been campaigning for 49 O since 2000," R. Desikan, a consumer activist, told IANS.
He said the government will have to abide by the judgment and if it tries to overcome it, then people will raise their voice against it.
According to political analyst Gnani Sankaran, all positive things in India are now happening due to the orders of the courts.
"This is the first step towards demanding repoll in constituencies where majority of the voters vote against the candidates," Sankaran told IANS.
Referring to the 2011 assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Sankaran said around 25,000 voters opted for 49 O option and with secrecy now available, the number of people opting for the "none of the above candidates" will jump manifold.
"This is a warning bugle for the political parties," he added.
Appreciating the Supreme Court for the landmark judgment, K. Srinivasan, founder of Prime Point Foundation that awards top performing Members of Parliament with Sansad Ratna, told IANS: "This is a welcome judgment. Though it is a theoretical possibility, I demand there should be a repoll if majority of the voters in a constituency do not accept the candidates in the fray."