NOTA or none of the above is a ballot option provided to Indian voters. Through NOTA a citizen has the right to not caste a vote for any candidate contesting the elections. With the Lok Sabha elections just a few days away, NT KURIOCITY asked the youth of Goa if NOTA would help cleanse the country’s political system…

Yes, NOTA gives voters the right to reject all candidates mainly because they aren’t too happy with the choice of candidates. Why don’t we have candidates who understand politics, preferably people with a degree in political science, sociology or law? We need individuals who understand the history of India and the history of the respective state, keeping in mind the religious background and allowing people practice their religion without mixing it in politics. People of the state would like to keep their culture alive and that should be respected simply because we live in a democratic and secular country.

Darryl Fernandes, Calangute

The NOTA option provided by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India does give the voter a chance to express disapproval to the unfit/non worthy candidates. This increases the overall voting percentage because of which aspiring politicians also get a clearer picture of what people expect, and work towards taking politics to a better level. Some say that NOTA is as good as not voting, but it’s not true because NOTA reflects voters’ expectations and decreases the vote percentage of the parties or candidates.

Sanath Bharne, Don Bosco College of Engineering, Fatorda

NOTA has its positives and negatives. For some it maybe a manner of being neutral or not supporting any party in particular or sometimes it indicates not being interested in politics. We’ve constantly heard the phrase ‘every vote counts’ but the real question is – is choosing NOTA a wise decision after all? What’s the point of actually voting when you aren’t selecting one candidate in particular? I do not think NOTA can help reject every candidate as everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I personally feel that everyone should make an informed decision and maybe then the political system will be cleansed.

Joywin Vaz, pursuing MA, Carmel College, Nuvem

NOTA has a long-term purpose of cleaning the political system by helping voters to express displeasure with the choice of candidates. Apart from rejecting candidates, it helps increase voter turnout as a neutral voters would not have voted or would have voted randomly. Right now NOTA is not taken seriously but with awareness it will be effective.

Nihar Madkaiker, Business Consultant, Panaji

NOTA may not change the outcome in India. I see it as a complacent act wherein I’m happy that I used the freedom and denied to compromise my ballot in favor of an unworthy candidate. Nevertheless if NOTA actually impacts the election process in the future, democracy will be at its zenith. The consequences would mean a chaotic period in governance, but it’s an acceptable change that our system needs.

Ayushi Naik, Goa College of Engineering, Ponda

NOTA is a refreshing change in Indian election system. It gives the voter a right to state that none of the candidates are able representative. I feel it needs to be given more importance for it to have more meaning during elections.

Biswas Tiwari, Padre Conceicao College of Engineering (PCCE), Verna

When I cast NOTA, it doesn’t mean my vote is invalid. It means I don’t want any of the above mentioned candidates as my leader. If NOTA has maximum votes in an area that means none of the candidates are fit for the people and so new candidates should be nominated. This would really improve the political situation in our country as people will have the power to filter their leaders and elect the best. But sadly, since elections consume time and resources, even if people reject all the second candidate is declared the winner, irrespective of the win-to-lose ratio.

Prithviraj Naik, Goa College of Engineering, Ponda

NOTA is a way of showing we don’t like any candidate but it is not the ultimate solution to the problem, even if a considerable number of people opt for NOTA the candidate with the extra vote would win, so people’s consent will not be validated. NOTA can’t be of help in properly cleansing country’s political system. But NOTA can help in showing that no candidate is worth representing the masses.

Kishan Mangeshkar, Don Bosco College of Engineering, Fatorda

In a democracy it is the fundamental right of every citizen to elect their representatives. Every vote matters and makes a difference. Choosing NOTA will not help in cleansing the country’s political system. It is as good as no Vote. The very purpose of elections is defeated. Instead of NOTA, people with the right ethics must be persuaded to contest for elections.

Renessa De Souza, Agnel Institute of Technology and Design, Assagao