After 26/11, Mumbai saw a knee-jerk reaction with loose talk about election boycotts and tax revolts. As we wrote then, a better idea for expressing anger would be to cast a negative vote at the polls. But such a vote should be couched in the same protection granted to other voters.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court decided not to pass a verdict on a public petition against the current rules for casting a negative vote. According to the election code, anyone wishing to vote “no”, that is, vote against all available candidates, has to furnish his name and signature to the election officer. Unlike other votes, there is no secret ballot provision, a cornerstone of electoral democracy.
The Union government seems happy with the current rule. But the Election Commission agreed with the petition, noting that a voter who chose to not vote could face grave threats, especially in villages.
It is common these days to not find a single candidate worthy of your vote. You should be able to say so.