Right to Reject: Parties react cautiously, CPI(M) opposes it

Political parties reacted cautiously to Supreme Court verdict holding citizens have right to reject candidates contesting polls with CPI (M) saying that the judgment has led to "abnormal situation".

New Delhi: Political parties on Friday reacted cautiously to a Supreme Court verdict holding that citizens have the right to reject candidates contesting polls with CPI (M) saying that the judgment has led to an "abnormal situation" that needs to be corrected.
Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken said the judgement needs to be studied to see if the apex court has taken all aspects like overwhelming number of negates votes into account as reacting on the spur of the moment could be a little premature.

Implementation of the verdict will be difficult and it may create many problems, another party leader Rashid Alvi felt.

BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "We are in favour of electoral reforms. 25-30 years back we used to have elections once in five years but now we have elections every four months in some state or the other.

"To say whether this decision is right or wrong now would be hasty. Anything can be said only after studying the judgement," he remarked.

However, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury came out strongly against the verdict, saying, "This is an abnormal situation that needs to be corrected.

"Elections after all are the direct contribution of our parliamentary democracy. Neither the judiciary nor the Election Commission participates in the elections. It is the political parties which participate. Without even talking to them deciding like this, it is not a good sign," he said.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somanth Chatterjee also opposed the verdict, maintaining, "The Supreme Court has given its judgement, I don`t think it is correct."

Welcoming the judgement, BSP chief Mayawati said, "Babasaheb Ambedkar was also in favour of right to reject."

In a landmark verdict, the apex court today held that citizens have right to cast negative vote rejecting all candidates contesting polls, a decision which would encourage people not satisfied with contestants to turn up for voting.

Alvi said while he respected the court`s order, "it may
create so many problems. Even the Representation of People Act will have to be amended.

"If 60 per cent people participate in the elections and in case all over the country they exercise their right to reject, then it will become difficult to form the government," he said.

"The Supreme Court said that the judgement will help clean up politics.... But at the same time, the fact is that people vote on the basis of caste, region and religion. Awareness among people is needed to clean up the system," Alvi said.

In a guarded response, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said, "We welcome any such move through which the system becomes stronger....It is the call of the institutions to maintain their own credibility and if the political system is not going to maintain its credibility, other institutions are going to take over."

She said, "There are no two opinions. Now whether a party chooses to do it or the court needs to interve, that needs to be seen. But the system needs to be cleaned up. Nobody is saying no to that. Those who are saying so, they are worried about their MPs and MLAs losing the seats."