‘O Podu’

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“O Podu” is a social awareness movement.

“O PODU’ means “cast the vote”. Voting is both the right and duty of the people. Another objective of our movement is to make people aware of their constitutional right to cast their vote under section 49 ‘O’.

On an average, in every election, nearly 45 percent of the eligible voters don’t vote at all. Therefore even if a winning candidate bags 30 percent of the polled votes, it amounts to getting the support of only about 16 percent of the total electorate. If more and more non voters begin to exercise their vote, the result of many elections would drastically change.

Why are many people not voting at all? One of the usual reasons cited is that they are unable to accept any candidate and don’t want to vote for anyone of the available candidates.

It is a unique feature of our Indian constitution that it has provided the legal right to the voter to reject all the candidates. Section 49 ‘O’ of the Election rules 1961, has empowered the voter with this right. This section has conferred the right to the voter to inform the booth officer, after the indelible ink mark has been marked, that the voter does not want to vote for any of the candidates. The section requires the booth officer to record the voter’s choice of 49 ‘O’.

“O PODU” movement will campaign for the following demands:

1. Every voter should cast the vote. Failure to cast the vote only prevents enhancement of the standards of politics.

2. If the voter feels all the candidates are unworthy, the best ay to communicate this view to the political parties is not through abstinence. The best method is to record this view through 49 ‘O’.

3. Secrecy of ballot is a right conferred on the voter by the Constitution. But the election commission’s procedure of not keeping 49 ‘O’ voting as secretive, amounts to a violation of this right. Therefore the Election commission should rectify this anomaly by introducing a separate button for 49 ‘O’ in the electronic voting machines, for the forthcoming Tamilnadu elections.

4. It is the duty of the Election commission to educate the booth officers about the availability of 49 ‘O while conducting classes to them on polling procedures. The present practice of booth officers expressing ignorance about 49 ‘O’ and refusing a vote to record under 49 ‘O’ should be totally eliminated.’

“O PODU” movement will campaign among voters, particularly the youth, seeking support for the above demands, by use of posters, pamphlets, meetings, T shirt messages, e mails and SMS.

To Read the above article in Tamil click here!

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