Monday, April 20, 2009
In the past three days i have received close to ten e-mails about the Article 49-0 of the Indian constitution. According to the article a person can go to a polling booth and 'vote for nobody'!
A person can get his finger marked and convey to the presiding election officer that he/she is not voting for any of the candidates. The significance of the number of '49-0' votes is that if a candidate wins in a ward by, say 100 votes , the polling will be considered valid only if this number is greater than the number of '49-0' votes. In the event of the number of '49-0' votes exceeding the winning margin there shall be a re-poll.
This is definitely a better option when compared to not voting at all. Instead of some random party worker impersonating you and casting your vote, it is better that you openly declare your disinterest in all the candidates.However there is a flip side to it.
In a multi-party democracy where a hung parliament is very likely , especially this time around, the idea of a '49-0' vote should not be encouraged. A responsible voter should ,in my opinion, keep in mind that an unstable government is a huge threat to the country.Elections are an expensive affair and a lot of money goes into it. An indecisive electorate will greatly hamper economic progress and result in a slow-down.
Ideally one should vote for the most able candidate.If all the candidates in a constituency are inefficient in the voter's opinion it is better to vote for the party/alliance which can form a stable government at the center rather than refraining from voting or fueling uncertainty.