NEW DELHI : The Congress on Tuesday moved the Election Commission and demanded that the provision of NOTA (none of the above) should not be made in the ballot papers for the August 8 Rajya Sabha elections as it would render the system of proportional representation "nugatory and otiose."
In a petition to the Election Commission, the party said that use of NOTA option during the Rajya Sabha elections was contrary to the mandate of the Constitution, the Representation of People's Act, the conduct of election rules as also judgment of the Supreme Court.
The party's petition against NOTA comes in the wake of defections in its Gujarat unit ahead of the poll to the upper house in which its senior leader Ahmed Patel is a candidate.
The Congress has herded its Gujarat MLAs to Karnataka and has accused the BJP of causing defections. The party apparently has apprehensions that Patel may not be able to get the required votes if some of its MLAs opt for NOTA when they cast their ballot. Seven of its Gujarat MLAs have already resigned from the party.
In its petition, the party said that use of NOTA in "indirect elections" was in direct conflict with and militates against the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.
"The Commission ought not to make applicable the NOTA provision in the ballot paper in the ensuing Rajya Sabha elections," said the petition, moved by Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Manish Tewari.
"The system of NOTA makes the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote nugatory and otiose and cannot be made applicable in Rajya Sabha elections," the petition added.
The Congress had earlier in the day raised the issue of NOTA in the Rajya Sabha also.
Election Commission officials, on their part, said the panel had made it clear in its communications following a Supreme Court judgment of 2013 that NOTA option will be applicable in the Rajya Sabha elections.
They said the poll panel, in its letter of November 2015 to all chief electoral officers of states, had given revised instructions about the manner of marking NOTA option in elections to Rajya Sabha and state legislative councils.