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Negative voting: polling staff’s role unhelpful

Althougth the electronic voting machines (EVMs) presently employed to cast votes do not have “none of the above” option, still the voters who don’t find any candidate suitable among all those contesting and figuring on the EVM do posses an option of rejecting all as the same is provided under Section 49-O in the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.

A voter putting his signature/thumb impression and getting idedible ink affixed on his finger after his electoral roll number has been entered in a register by polling official has got such a right. He can make a remark to the effect that he has decided not to vote in favour of any candidate and after which he would have to again make a fresh sign/thumb impression against such remark.

Thus even after recording presence and attendance, a voter can opt to go in for “negative voting”. But it has been witnessed that the polling staff do not permit any voter who wants to exercise this option, perhaps owing to ignorance of this provision.

Though negative voting is not a healthy sign for a free and vibrant democracy, what if an elector of a constituency finds evey candidate unsuitable for getting elected. The legal rights available to the electors must not be denied to them.

The Chief Electoral Officer, Haryana, should instruct all Returning Officers to issue suitable directions to the polling staff to allow and assit the electors who want to exercise this option.


Austerity drive

Austerity is a virtue which many love to preach and only a handful actually practice. About a month back, the ruling Congress party purportedly launched an austerity drive by asking the Minister for External Affairs and his deputy to shift to modest accommodation from their five star luxury hotel rooms and exhorting others to practice austerity in government expenditure and save money for the sake of those hit by the unprecedented drought in various parts of the country.

It was a good move and should have not only been welcomed but also scrupulously practiced by all those who handle government funds. But I am sorry to say that the very same party that launched the drive ran out of steam. While publicly upbraiding two ministers for indulging in wasteful expenditure, it turned a Nelson’s eye to the millions spent by others like Haryana Chief Minister B.S. Hooda who has spent millions on inserting profusely illustrated costly ads in the country’s main journals and newspapers glorifying themselves and their days in power.

RJ Khurana, Bhopal

Air India stir

Your editorial, “End ambiguity - Air-India needs to be run professionally”(Sept 30,2009, The Tribune), is right in both ways. First, inconvenience to the travellers who had made a long planning of visiting certain places in connection with official or personal affairs, and second, Air India needs to be run professionally.

In my opinion, both the Air India authorities and pilots are right at their places, for not running it on economic calculations and cutting off incentives of pilots to 50 per cent in one go. Anybody can realise that once the perks are increased, the household affairs are managed accordingly and on withdrawing as a lion’s share, when the living standard is conditioned, it is very difficult to cope with accordingly to the perks after the so-called cost cutting.

If 41 employees per plane are already in excess, then why were the Air India authorities mum at the time of recruitment? Why is the board at that time not being sued? Now things have gone worse, the eyes of Air India management are on the pay packets. Why can the junior-most officials not be shunted out besides taking action against the recruitment authorities?

HARISH K MONGA, Fezepur City

Raise your voice

I really appreciate the courage of the lady doctor who dared to question the selection committee of the PPSC. To maintain transparency in the system, all interviews should be videographed. Besides, it is time for the public to raise its voice against malpractices.


Tackling Maoists

The war against Maoists should continue (editorial, “War against Maoists”, Sept 24). However, the socio-economic conditions responsible for the rise of Maoists should also be addressed.

Our political leaders while fighting the British imperialism envisioned an India where its citizens would at least be given the basic necessities of life.

Sadly, this has not happened. While large sections of the Indian population are living below the poverty line, the so-called leaders are enjoying all luxuries of life.


Scotland, UK

Vanishing tigers

The editorial “Tiger killings: Alarming rise is cause for concern” (Sept 18) was timely. Besides tigers, other animals too are facing a threat. Strict action should be taken against those who are involved in the smuggling of tiger parts.

Forest guards should be given more powers and the Wildlife Protection Act and the Forest Conservation Act need to be followed in letter and spirit. Awareness drives emphasising the role of tigers and other species in our ecosystem should gain further impetus.




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