Advani welcomes SC ruling on negative vote

New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani Sunday welcomed the Supreme Court verdict that offers people the option of casting their votes for "None of the Above" (NOTA), thus making way for a negative vote.

"As things stand today, voters who without any legitimate justification have not been exercising the valuable right of franchise that the Indian constitution has conferred on them have, unwittingly, been casting a negative vote against all the contesting candidates without intending to do so," Advani said in his latest blog.

However, he added that along with this provision, voting should be made mandatory.

"I hold, therefore, that a negative vote would become really meaningful if it is accompanied also by the introduction of mandatory voting," he added.

Advani gave credit to Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's prime minister candidate Narendra Modi for making the first move in this direction.

"The only state in India which has on its own initiative moved in this direction (compulsory voting) is Gujarat.

"Under Narendra Modi its assembly has twice legislated for compulsory voting, but the bill has not received the assent of the Governor, or even of New Delhi," he said.

Advani had earlier resisted Modi's elevation first as BJP's campaign committee chief and later as prime ministerial candidate.

In the blog, the senior BJP leader pointed out that 31 countries in the world have compulsory voting, but only a dozen of them actually enforce it by having deterrent provisions for citizens who fail to vote without justified reason.

He felt that the election commission should convene an all-party meeting for a purposeful debate on the entire issue after providing them the text of the Supreme Court judgment and a comprehensive report on the laws and rules in these 31 countries.

Advani also praised former chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi for arguing through newspaper articles that India should have the negative vote option.

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