Former Chief Election Commissioner TS Krishnamurthy has said that a second round of polling should be held in constituencies where a candidate’s winning margin is less than the votes polled for the None of the Above, or NOTA, option, PTI reported on Monday.
Over 5.52 lakh voters in Gujarat chose the NOTA option during the Assembly elections in December 2017, making up 1.8% of the total votes. This vote percentage was higher than that for any political party other than the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and independent candidates.
“In my opinion, NOTA is very good,” Krishnamurthy told PTI. “If NOTA crosses a certain percentage of votes – for example if the difference between the winner and the loser is less than the number of NOTA votes – we should have a second round of elections.” He added that the legislature needed to enact a law to make this possible.
“Another possibility is to say that the winner should poll more than 33.33% or one-third of total number of votes polled,” Krishnamurthy said, adding that such a measure would make smaller political parties “disappear”. If no candidate secures one-third of the total number of votes, there should be a re-election in that constituency, he said.
The former chief election commissioner added that the NOTA option would eventually force political parties to field candidates known for their integrity. He also claimed that India’s first-past-the-post system, whereby the candidate with the most votes wins, had outlived its utility.