Category Archives: Assembly Election

Vote-not-to vote: The lesser known voting rule; Rule 49-O

One of the reader of Arunachal Diary asked me if I could throw some light on Vote-not-to vote rule or rather Negative/Neutral vote or ‘Nota’ (None of the above). As it would have been a long reply almost sufficing a single post, I thought of doing a post on itself.

Post 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, one lesser known rule of ‘The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961′, has been doing round in blogosphere and social networking sites and has been a subject of debate. It is the Rule 49-O of ‘The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961′-the rule, which as a matter of fact I too was quite unaware of. It was triggered by hoax email that was doing round the web, apparently since past couple of years but which gained momentum post 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

So what is Rule 49-O of The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961?

It says that if elector decides not to record his vote, then the elector may do so by notifying the presiding officer and putting signature or thumb impression in Form 17A which exposes the identity of the elector and making them vulnerable to threat and intimidation. It also defeats the purpose of ‘secret ballot’.

49-O. Elector deciding not to vote.-If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.

What is so special about this rule that it became a buzzword and a subject of debate in the web?

The hoax email that did round the web, apparently seems to state that ‘if the number of people who invoke the right to 49-O is more than the winning candidates vote count, a re-poll is ordered with something amounting to a permanent ban on the previous candidature‘. Having disillusioned with the voting system of the country to elect their representative whereby there was no option other than to choose the candidate which was less unappealing than the others; this gave some sense of power to elector to accept or not-to- accept or to reject the candidates altogether by putting ‘Negative/Neutral’ Vote. It was felt and hoped that by exercising this option, the wronged system can atleast be corrected. And ever since, people have been debating about the viability of this option.

Can a re-poll be ordered by invoking Rule 49-O?

No, with the present Rule 49-O, there is no option that a re-poll could be ordered if the vote count invoking Rule 49-O is greater than the vote count of winning candidates. In other words, it would be much similar to abstaining from exercising your franchise or to make your vote invalid. 49-o.info has succinct information on Rule 49-O. Go through the explanation of rule 49-O here.

So, not until the rule is amended based on EC recommendations and a clause inserted for re-poll and disqualification of candidature, it would be futile and ‘waste’ of vote to invoke ‘Rule 49-O’ except to compromise your identity and expose you to the vulnerability of being intimidated.

Suggested readings:

  1. SC keeps door open on negative voting.
  2. Right of negative voting.

Would the handling of CoSAAP’s agitation by the Government affect the ruling Congress Party’s prospect in forthcoming Assembly Elections?

Well, the ruling Congress in Arunachal Pradesh has finally decided to prepone the Assembly Elections which was due in October and to go in for polls simultaneously along with Lok Sabha Elections likely to be held during April-May. The decision was taken, apparently, in order to ‘save time, energy and money’.

The ruling Congress in Arunachal Pradesh has decided to go in for polls for the 60-member state assembly simultaneously with that for the Lok Sabha to be held either in April or May.

The state cabinet at a meeting here last night endorsed the decision of the Congress Legislature Party and its associate members to prepone the assembly polls, due in October and hold it along with that for the Lok Sabha to “save time, energy and money”, government spokesman and state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Tako Dabi told the press today.

Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, who is also the CLP leader, and Arunachal PCC President Nabam Tuki would visit Delhi soon to apprise the party high command and the Election Commission of the decision, he said.

(Source PTI)

Now, with present turmoil in the state where the Government’s hard stance on it’s employee over the implementation of 6th Pay Commission recommendation has become the subject of criticism from other political parties and employees discontentment, would the decision to pre-pone the 60-seat assembly elections backfire in their face? Would the handling of CoSAAP’s agitation by the ruling Congress Government affect their prospect in this assembly election?

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