Bengaluru: They voted but for nobody. As many as 525 voters turned up at polling booths last Sunday to exercise their right to reject all candidates. The voters chose section 49-O (negative or neutral voting) provided under the Elections Rules, 1969 Act, by going to the polling booth, confirming their identity, getting their finger marked with indelible ink and then conveying to the presiding officer they did not want to vote for anyone.
For the first time, the urban voter proved parties and pollsters wrong by showing he cares for democracy but disapproves of the quality of politicians. More than 400 out of the 525 voters, who exercised 49 O are from Bengaluru.
Interestingly, the urban voter exercised a lesser-publicised option - of negative voting to voice his dissent over the quality of candidates. Said Ankita, a software professional, "I know, my voting under 49-O will still be considered invalid and will not affect the election results. But it will sure serve as a warning to the parties to choose better candidates next time. The system will be forced to change when more unhappy voters exercise this choice."
Ironically, the right to reject is granted under the law, but it is not easy to exercise it. The EVMs do not have a “None of the above' option. The negative voter has to approach the presiding officer at the polling booth after entering his name in voter attendance register and getting the ink mark to register the negative voting remark in Form 17A, said sources.