Some noughts and crosses for netas | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Some noughts and crosses for netas

Avishek G Dastidar & Ritika Chopra

delhi Updated: May 08, 2009 00:41 IST

They could have stayed home and enjoyed the holiday, but they braved the queues and the heat to ‘not vote’. On Thursday, some voters chose to exercise the little-known right to ‘not vote’ for any candidate on a list, as allowed under Rule 49 (O) of the Conduct of Election rules.

Three voters in West Delhi’s Dwarka flats, and one in South Delhi’s New Friends Colony exercised this right. All of them said their vote was for democracy. “True democracy lies in the freedom to not give my vote to people I feel are not good for my country. I have exercised that freedom,” said Hari Srinivasan (29), bank executive from Dwarka’s Sector 19.

Srinivasan had gone over all the information available about candidates in West Delhi — to be able to choose the best. “Believe me, no one appeared deserving enough,” he said. What kind of leader deserved their vote? “An honest man, preferably young, who is known for his spectacular development work,” said Srinivas Lingam (27), a Siemens executive at Dwarka’s L&T Apartments.

For Atul Kumar (47), businessman from New Friends Colony, a politician should also be able to keep the promises he makes. “None of the guys, from BJP or Congress, show up after winning an election.” Robin (20) from Crescent Apartment in Dwarka’s Sector 18, refused to comment.

The ‘naysayers’ caused utter befuddlement at the polling booths the moment they sought to invoke Rule 49 (O). “The polling officers did not have a clue,” said Srinivasan. “I had read that voters need to fill out a form declaring their intention to not vote. But the officials manning the booth kept insisting that there was no such form,” said Srinivasan.

At one booth in Karol Bagh, officers started arguing amongst themselves on the existence of the rule. Thanks to officials’ ignorance, several people in Gurgaon failed to exercise this right even after expressing their wish to do so. As per rules, polling officials are supposed to maintain a register listing the names of voters who refuse to vote.