Right To Reject: One Historic For Voters, One Shocker From Rahul!
The Supreme Court of India gave a historic judgment today. The public litigation petition demanding the Right to Reject for voters had been pending for last nine years and Anna Hazare during his Movement against Corruption in 2011-12 made a lot of hue and cry for this too. Today the Supreme Court put its seal of approval on this. Now voters can reject all the candidates in his constituency if s/he thinks all of them are crooks and useless. There will be a new option in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), ‘None Of The Above’, so that all candidates of all parties could thereby be rejected by the voter. Exactly when the EVMs are going to be adjusted or the date of effect to this decision is a matter of pure speculation at the moment.
This is basically a negative vote, but the apathetic voters now need not sit at home and abstain from their constitutional duty. They can go to the polling booths and exercise their Right to Reject by voting for the new option. Maybe Voters’ Apathy could finally be tackled effectively. This landmark judgment has huge dimensions in terms of its possible repercussions, cascading impact and the final result. Politicians of all parties have been very guarded in their reactions and justifiably so. Already haunted by the words like ‘split votes’ or ‘hung houses’ they are scared indeed at the core of their hearts as to what this may finally lead them and the country to. The Supreme Court verdicts must be respected and followed at all costs. The consternation is more due to the Assembly Elections lined up for December, 2013 and then the real humdinger of a General Election in April-May, 2014. The Supreme Court very clearly points out that voting is a constitutional right while the right to reject is always a fundamental right. For all lesser mortals it is indeed a cause for great celebration.
Although not corroborated by facts the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi seemed to have been so very much inspired by this ‘right to reject’ that it immediately guided him making a brief appearance at an explosive press conference and rejecting the Ordinance on convicted politicians promulgated by his own government. At the Press Club in Delhi along with Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken Rahul said that the Ordinance was complete nonsense and that ‘it must be torn up and thrown in the dustbin’. He elaborated that all political parties made such compromises to suit their ends and his own party made a mistake in this same way. Just before making a dramatic exit Rahul was quick to add that this was his ‘personal opinion’. In the process he managed to shock literally everyone of all hues and colors—his own UPA government, all opposition parties, all varieties of the media and all citizens at large. Ajay Maken, continuing the press conference, supported Rahul by saying that his word is Congress policy. Several other Congress ministers followed with their support to their future poll prospect. That it has caused one more profound embarrassment for the distressed UPA government and finally the Prime Minister who is presently in the USA is anybody’s safe guess. Some News channels have already started raging debates if the Prime Minister should really resign now. The opposition political parties including BJP especially seem to be fighting to come out of daze to properly react.
The Union Cabinet on 24th September had cleared the Ordinance to negate another landmark judgment of the Supreme Court that struck down a provision in the electoral law which allowed a convicted MP and MLA to continue in their post if they make an appeal to a higher court within three months and ruled that if convicted for a crime with a punishment of more than two years the concerned elected members must be disqualified instantly. This verdict was hailed in all sensible quarters in the country as an effective step to counter politicians with criminal backgrounds. The Government claimed that an all-party consensus had been reached on August 13 on this issue of negating the SC verdict and the BJP was very strongly in favor of legislation. Since the bill could not be passed in Parliament the Government took the Ordinance route. In this crazy political times the BJP vociferously opposed the Ordinance and yesterday represented with the President Pranab Mukherjee to send it back. This BJP move had tremendously angered the Government who termed it as the party’s consistent ‘double standards’. Now, with Rahul Gandhi coming out in opposition it is to be seen what the Congress led UPA government finally tells the President to do. In all, both these momentous events augur well for the lesser mortals of the country like us.
Meanwhile, the eloquent Information and Broadcasting Minister, Manish Tewary, seemed to in his elements at another press conference in the capital today just preceding the Rahul one. When asked by journalists to comment on the recent statement of Narendra Modi that ‘CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) is going to fight the coming general elections, not the Congress party’, the minister said, “At times the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi ends up speaking the truth only. Indeed, the CBI is going to fight the elections. The ‘Communal Bureau of Instigation’ is getting ready on his behalf for this’. And then he smiled, of course.