Saturday, October 24, 2020
Home Opinions Think before pressing NOTA to teach your party a lesson, you may end up...

Think before pressing NOTA to teach your party a lesson, you may end up learning a hard one yourselves

If the BJP alliance voters split their votes with NOTA, even if based on some genuine issue, then it will result in BJP perhaps not being able to form a strong government in Maharashtra

To NOTA, or not to NOTA, that is the proverbial billion ballots question. And the question has existed ever since the Supreme Court in September 2013 upheld the existence of this option on the EVMs. This is in itself interesting, as the option came more as a judicial pronouncement, rather than as a result of any detailed deliberation in the parliament.

But NOTA is here to stay for now, and we must work with its reality. I grappled with the question “What makes someone vote NOTA?” while discussing this issue with some of its advocates. We now know that it has no direct real-world ramifications. The hoax suggesting that if NOTA gathers a certain amount of votes in the state assembly polls, all parties have to recall their candidates and fresh elections are held, has been comprehensively debunked, most recently in this article.

E.g. Assume that there are two candidates in the state assembly election Mr. A, and Mr. B. If Mr. A gets just 1 vote, Mr. B gets 2 votes, and the NOTA option gets 100 votes, it makes no difference to the result. Mr. B still wins by virtue of getting the highest number of votes among the contesting candidates.

But does it have indirect adverse implications for the election process? It is my view that it does.

Pragmatically, the basic premise of elections is very simple. You vote for the party that you believe is relatively better, or for the cynics amongst us, relatively less bad than the others. The BJP government had a certain manifesto before the last elections. They have acted on virtually every single item promised. In some cases, there was a higher level of success than others, just like everything else in life.

Also Read- Demystifying the ‘Civil Society’: How are the ‘Urban Maoists’ and NOTA connected

Based on my interactions, albeit limited as they are, I surmise that several NOTA voters are BJP supporters who have some specific dissatisfaction. Whether it is not liking their local candidate, or not agreeing with a policy decision, or not wanting to vote for an alliance party’s (Shiv Sena, in this case) candidate.

While I do not discount their grievances one iota, one must also remember that in an Indian election we are in-effect voting for the leadership. We have all seen how good candidates underperform under bad leadership, and we have seen even ordinary candidates deliver under able leadership. Both Narendra Modi in Delhi and Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra have exhibited this able leadership, thus encouraging everyone to do their best. You don’t have to agree in entirety with the person you vote for, that is impossible. You must agree with them just enough to ensure that the country is taken forward in the right direction.

For example, my logic for voting for BJP in Maharashtra is straightforward,

  1. Maharashtra is a rich state with large allocations for infrastructure. I do not want it to fall into hands that may have a chequered history of delaying such projects and making them more expensive. CM Fadnavis has done a spectacular job so far, and you don’t change your pilot in the middle of a flight.
  2. I want to strengthen the hands of Narendra Modi in Delhi by bolstering/ supporting his numbers in the Rajya Sabha. Article 370 was removed in just five months of Modi 2.0 paving the way for true integration of India despite the current composition of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. I am enthused with what all PM Modi could accomplish with enhanced numbers in the Rajya Sabha, and four-and-a-half years to spare.

It is worth noting that the Narendra Modi led BJP is the only political party that has unabashedly stuck to its development agenda. It has not played to any vote-bank gallery, whether It is region, religion, caste, or language. It has thus not cultivated a “vote bank” as the opposition parties like Congress, NCP, MIM, etc. may have.

Also Read: To the angry middle class, read it before you press NOTA, or worse, choose Congress

India has been lifted from this morass of vote-bank politics only recently, and virtually singlehandedly by PM Modi who is instilling a higher loyalty among politicians and people. The fiscal-breaking, and society-dividing hand-out era is slowly and surely coming to end.  If you agree with what PM Modi is trying to achieve, or what CM Fadnavis is working tirelessly on, then don’t do yourself a disservice by voting for NOTA. It will be like cutting your nose, to spite your face.

Allow me to elaborate. The Congress vote bank, for example, will vote for Congress irrespective of the work done by its elected representatives. This is the nature of vote bank politics, because the chosen population segment is pampered and has little sarokaar with the overall development of the country. In fact, this is the exact disease that has ailed India for the decades since Independence. PM Modi encapsulated this type of politics superbly as “mera kya, mujhe kya rajneeti”.

But if the BJP alliance voters split their votes with NOTA, even if based on some genuine issue, then it will result in BJP perhaps not being able to form a strong government in Maharashtra. BJP is contesting on ~146 seats in Maharashtra (purely on its own), almost same as the majority mark in the assembly. It is unlikely that BJP will win all the seats that it contests on. Recall that in 2014 BJP contested the elections without its biggest alliance partner and got ~120 seats after contesting ~260. So, it will likely require an alliance after the polls. Now if NOTA causes a decline in the seats of the alliance, the obvious beneficiaries are parties like Congress, NCP, MIM etc. In which case there may be a very real possibility that enough space is vacated for a hotch-potch combination of parties to come to power while BJP becomes the opposition. With so much money being spent for infra projects, do we want to risk this happening?

For those NOTA advocates who believe that their vote doesn’t matter, and won’t change the outcome of polls, I would like to cite the example of Madhya Pradesh. It was a safe state for the BJP, and had seen immense development under the able leadership of then CM Shivraj Chouhan. Just last year, BJP lost the majority in that state by just 7-8 seats. In about twelve seats, NOTA votes contributed to BJP’s loss, as per this article. Of these twelve, in about eight seats the margin of defeat was 300-3000 votes only. As such, the indirect result of NOTA votes is a loss for BJP!

I am not advocating for people to vote for this party, or that. I am simply suggesting that a vote for NOTA is in effect voting against the BJP. It is nothing but actively punishing PM Modi for elevating Indian politics from its “mera kya, mujhe kya” mindset. It should not happen that in the quest to teach BJP “a lesson”, we end up learning a hard one ourselves. And if that happens, time will tell us that was a pyrrhic victory for the NOTA advocates.

Author: Anirudha Limaye

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Searched termsMaharashtra election

Related Articles

Trending now

Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Sajjad Lone come together to form ‘Gupkar Alliance’, vow to restore articles 370, 35A and statehood in Jammu & Kashmir

The in the Gupkar alliance seeks restoration of Articles 370 and 35A and also the statehood for Jammu and Kashmir

PM Narendra Modi inaugurates three key projects in Gujarat, calls it a symbol of strength, devotion and health

PM Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated three development projects related to agriculture, tourism and health in Gujarat today

Alt News selectively cites coronavirus statistics to criticise PM Modi alleging he used selective data

Alt News published an article alleging that PM Modi selectively cited coronavirus numbers to give a rosy picture of country’s fight against the pandemic

Arvind Kejriwal remains non-committal on making coronavirus vaccine free in Delhi

The reluctance of Arvind Kejriwal to clearly state the policy of his government on coronavirus vaccine in Delhi is puzzling.

‘Encounter specialist’ cop facing murder charges and reinstated by Param Bir Singh had joined Shiv Sena

Sachin Vaze, Pradeep Sharma, who were both 'encounter specialist' cops facing murder charges, were close to Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh

Radio Mirchi RJ finds space with radical preacher Zakir Naik as she waters down terms like ‘Kafir’ and ‘Jihad’

A video featuring Radio Mirchi RJ Sayema is doing rounds on the internet in which she was seen normalising anti-Hindu bigotry by legitimising the usage of radical Islamic terms as 'Kafir' and 'Jihad'.

Recently Popular

‘He supplies drugs and girls’: Estranged wife of Mahesh Bhatt’s nephew Luviena Lodh alleges harassment by nephew-uncle duo

Luviena Lodh said that Mahesh Bhatt is the don of the industry, and he controls everything that goes on in the film industry

Exclusive: Conversation that shows how Mumbai Police is trying to coerce witness into naming Republic TV in TRP scam

While Hansa Research report and the FIR filed named India Today in TRP scam, in less than 24 hours, Mumbai Police had seemingly made up its mind that Republic TV was the culprit

France: Charlie Hebdo cartoons projected on government building to express solidarity with deceased teacher who was beheaded by Islamic terrorist

Days after the barbaric beheading of teacher Samuel Paty on the streets of Paris by a terrorist for showing the cartoons of Prophet Mohammad to his students, support continues to pour in for the deceased teacher.

‘Jism ki garmi’: How Hindi film industry disregarded consent and normalised rape and molestation over the years

The Hindi film industry has, knowingly or unknowingly, convinced a generation of people that rape is normal when done in light of 'greater good'.

Lucknow: Jama Mazar caretaker ‘Kale Baba’ caught running sex racket, video goes viral

The caretaker has allegedly confessed to police that he was sexually exploiting women and engaging them in illicit activities in the name of curing infertility and other ailments.

Complaints filed against Eros Now and Arré for vulgar social media posts related to Navratri

Both Eros Now and Arre had published social media posts linking Navratri festival with sex and vulgarity
- Advertisement -

Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Sajjad Lone come together to form ‘Gupkar Alliance’, vow to restore articles 370, 35A and statehood in Jammu & Kashmir

The in the Gupkar alliance seeks restoration of Articles 370 and 35A and also the statehood for Jammu and Kashmir

PM Narendra Modi inaugurates three key projects in Gujarat, calls it a symbol of strength, devotion and health

PM Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated three development projects related to agriculture, tourism and health in Gujarat today

Times of India hides identity of Dilbar Qureshi who posed as a Hindu man and kidnapped a minor Hindu girl in Delhi Love Jihad...

The Times of India report merely says that a 13-year old girl was kidnapped by a 25-year old man, hiding his identity completely

Alt News selectively cites coronavirus statistics to criticise PM Modi alleging he used selective data

Alt News published an article alleging that PM Modi selectively cited coronavirus numbers to give a rosy picture of country’s fight against the pandemic

Arvind Kejriwal remains non-committal on making coronavirus vaccine free in Delhi

The reluctance of Arvind Kejriwal to clearly state the policy of his government on coronavirus vaccine in Delhi is puzzling.

Mumbai: Body of missing Coronavirus patient recovered after 14 days from the hospital bathroom

The TB+Coronavirus patient had gone missing om October 4, but his body was recovered 14 days later on 18th inside a toilet in the hospital

Wife of UP police DIG who is member of the SIT formed in relation to Hathras case dies by suicide

Pushpa Prakash reportedly killed herself by hanging. The reason of suicide is not yet known.

Finance ministry issues guidelines for interest waiver scheme during the lockdown period- Read details

The govt will pay the difference between simple and compound interest from March to August under compound interest waiver scheme

‘Encounter specialist’ cop facing murder charges and reinstated by Param Bir Singh had joined Shiv Sena

Sachin Vaze, Pradeep Sharma, who were both 'encounter specialist' cops facing murder charges, were close to Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh

US Presidential elections: YouTube overwhelmed with political ads, sees a shortage of advertising space

YouTube has received so many ads for the US presidential elections in the same states that it can't find enough space to place them

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
467,761FollowersFollow
19,100SubscribersSubscribe