Should we, or shouldn’t we?

It is that time of the year (although once in five years) when we are made to feel important and relevant. But do the millennials feel the same about elections?

Published: 11th May 2018 05:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th May 2018 06:25 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU:  Is NOTA the most popular choice this election?

It is that time of the year (although once in five years) when we are made to feel important and relevant. But do the millennials feel the same about elections? Are they ready to question and take on anti-incumbency, or have they become apathetic to the political system?

Would tech-savvy, digital immigrant citizens out to cast their votes for the first or a second time, be excited about their right to exercise their franchise? Would they decisively choose a candidate? Do they have the time or inclination to make an effort to research a candidate and make a wise decision, or would inefficient candidatures deter them from voting?

Shilpa Kalyan 
Head of the Department
Centre for Media Studies
– Presidency College

Or would they conveniently choose the NOTA (None Of The Above) option and stay safe?

NOTA has been offered to voters since 2013. The rationale behind it is that when you have the right to vote, you also have the right to reject candidates — all of them on the EVMs.

NOTA has been gaining popularity among digital communities. There are thousands of followers to specific NOTA groups. It has emerged as a movement to build pressure on politicians and parties to be more accountable, transparent and efficient.

Close to 60 lakh voters (1.1%) had chosen NOTA in the 2014 Parliamentary elections. The percentage is sure to increase in the coming years, thanks to our bellicose politicians who are busy mudslinging.
Many first-time voters have made up their mind to opt for NOTA. Media student Sachin, a second-time voter, says, ‘‘It’s our only recourse because we have no candidate who campaigns on ‘real’ issues. Everyone has his ideological agenda. So NOTA is the only way we can ensure that candidates know they cannot take the public for granted.” He says he went with NOTA when he voted for the first time.
A final year literature student, Aishwarya’s rhetoric, too, supports NOTA: “Why vote for anyone when you know none among them is worth being your elected representative?’”

However, NOTA is also looked upon as escapism. Considering that it has no immediate impact on the election result, the seriousness of NOTA is questionable. Preetesh, placement head at a private college in the city, and who has had quite a few voting experiences, opines that it doesn’t make any sense in India.  
“My understanding is that, in some countries, if NOTA votes are more than votes of winning candidate, then the election is cancelled and held again. Here in India, what does one achieve?

Nothing but psychological satisfaction. Practically, it is same as voting for a random independent candidate. There has to be some implication, for a NOTA vote to be meaningful,” he says.Bhavna, a corporate professional, says “Though it seems like the best option, I don’t see how it can improve candidature. Instead of wasting my vote, I would rather choose the best out of the worst with some hope still.”

Stay up to date on all the latest Karnataka news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp