For the first time, Delhi University will have a None of the Above(NOTA) option in the students’ union polls slated to take place on September 9. The decision comes following a UGC directive to include the same.
Prior to the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections in 2015, there was widespread clamour for the inclusion of a NOTA option on the electronic voting machine, after which the UGC had recommended the inclusion of the button. However, it could not be implemented last year as the EVMs were prepared before the UGC order was released.
Student wings of leading national level political parties like the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) welcome the inclusion of a NOTA option in the DUSU polls. “The NOTA option gives students the voice to express their disapproval towards all candidates,” says Saket Bahuguna, spokesperson for the ABVP. “It thus becomes easier for organisations like us to know what the status of our candidate is on ground, and what the student body thinks of our candidates standing for elections. This makes the NOTA option a very powerful democratic right,” he asserts.
Angellica Aribam, National General Secretary of the NSUI concurs that it would be a great idea to include a NOTA option in the DUSU elections. However she points out that the NOTA option has no teeth to make an effective impact. “There ought to be a mechanism in place to give more teeth to the NOTA option,” she says. “If NOTA polls more votes than any candidate standing for election, there must be a re-election and the parties must be asked to field different candidates. This doesn’t happen in the current scenario, making the option less powerful,” she said.
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