BJP joins Congress to say No to NOTA in Gujarat RS polls

The ruling party has urged the EC to withdraw the option saying it was acting beyond 2014 SC order.

 The BJP and Congress are in a bitter face-off over Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat but that has not stopped the rivals from joining hands against the Election Commission to demand the scrapping of the NOTA (None of the Above) option in the 8 August polls.

The Congress, led by Anand Sharma, made an official representation to the EC Tuesday demanding scrapping of NOTA option for the Rajya Sabha polls and has also petitioned the Supreme Court.

The BJP has now made a similar representation to the EC.

With both the ruling and the main opposition party making the same demand, the Election Commission may have to reassess its position on the contentious issue, highly placed sources in the EC told ThePrint.

The commission has maintained that it is following the law on NOTA after the Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that the option should be available in all elections.

Bhupender Yadav, BJP MP and the party’s Gujarat in-charge, told ThePrint that the BJP has officially opposed the use of NOTA and urged the EC to withdraw its orders on the same.

 

“Yes, we have made a submission to the EC on the issue. We have opposed use of NOTA in Rajya Sabha polls and made a detailed submission before the EC on it,” Yadav said.

A BJP delegation led by Yadav and Minority Affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi met EC officials Wednesday and argued against the use of NOTA.

In its submission, the BJP has said the SC order covered only the parliamentary and

state legislative elections. The EC has “acted beyond the direction passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court” by directing all states and UTs to provide NOTA option for Rajya Sabha polls now as well as in 2014 and must withdraw its orders, the party has added.

It has also said that the use of NOTA in the upcoming election has become “an issue of debate among the political parties” and therefore a “proper consensus” should be made before the use of NOTA in Rajya Sabha elections. The party has also pointed out that since there is no secrecy involved in RS elections, NOTA serves no purpose.

The Congress had Tuesday submitted that use of NOTA in indirect elections such as the one to the Rajya Sabha is contrary to Article 80(4) of the Constitution, the Representation of People’s Act, the Conduct of Elections and the 2006 Kuldip Nayar vs Union of India case.

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