SC to hear Cong. plea seeking removal of 'NOTA' from RS polls

| Updated: Aug 03, 2017 11:01 IST

New Delhi [India], Aug. 03 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday will hear the plea filed by the Congress against the Election Commission of India (ECI) challenging the introduction of 'None of the Above' (NOTA) option in the forthcoming Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat. The Congress Party moved the apex court against the decision of the poll body on Wednesday. The Congress Party has been protesting since the Election Commission notified that NOTA option will be available for the first time in upcoming Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat. The elections of the Upper House do not take place by secret ballot as the voter has to show the marked ballot to the party's polling agent before putting it in the ballot box. The BJP also met the Election Commission over the removal of NOTA or 'None of the Above' options for voters in the Rajya Sabha elections. Despite its six Gujarat MLAs joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress is leaving no stone unturned to secure the Rajya Sabha berth for its leader Ahmed Patel. It has also decided to issue a whip to all the Congress MLAs, including Shankersinh Vaghela, who resigned last month to ensure that Ahmed Patel is voted back into the Rajya Sabha. The BJP has fielded party president Amit Shah, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Balwantsinh Rajput for the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled to be held on August 8. Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) has released a list of Rajya Sabha polls and bypolls that it has held with NOTA option since November 2014. The Supreme Court in its judgement on September 27, 2014 directed that the option of 'None of the Above' (NOTA) shall be provided on the ballot papers or Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). The instructions were issued by the EC in October 2013 of providing NOTA as an option on the ballot after the name of the last candidate, whereas in January 2014 EC issued directions that the option of NATO shall be applicable in the elections to the Rajya Sabha. From January, 2014, biennial elections to Rajya Sabha covering all States and 25 bye-elections to Rajya Sabha have been held. (ANI)

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