Some issues before NOTA implementation: Bengal poll panel

Kolkata, Oct 8 (IANS) Voters in West Bengal will have to wait bit longer to exercise their "None of the Above" (NOTA) option to reject all candidates, as the State Election Commission (SEC) Tuesday said there were issues to be resolved before the move can be implemented.

"So far as NOTA option is concerned, we are yet to work on it. There are still a few unanswered questions, a few issues to be resolved first. What happens if there are a high percentage of voters exercising NOTA?" said State Election Commissioner Mira Pande.

Participating in a Merchant Chamber of Commerce organised event, Pande said there were also other issues like absence of the NOTA button on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), and use of ballot papers in panchayat (rural body) polls.

"We are waiting to see how the system develops. As we don't have EVMs which have the NOTA buttons, maybe we will have to install them or procure new ones," she said.

With the SEC slated to hold the elections next in November in the state, Pande, however, said the commission was considering adopting the system.

In a historic verdict that will empower the Indian voter, the Supreme Court Sep 27 said that for a vibrant democracy, electors must have the right to reject all the candidates in the fray with the option of "NOTA" in voting machines and on ballot papers.

Voters in the poll-bound states of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram would be the first in the country to avail the NOTA option after Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath said the EVMs will have a slot for NOTA.

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