Hyd Lok Sabha: disappointed, rights activists kick-start NOTA campaign

Hyd Lok Sabha: disappointed, rights activists kick-start NOTA campaign

  • Contest was expected on development plank but turned communal, say activists
  • Social media sees surge in NOTA support, citing lack of development talk
  • AIMIM, BJP accused of polarising votes; activists reject all candidates

Hyderabad: Representatives of civil society groups who were pitching for a 'change' in the Hyderabad constituency and hoped a strong contender from INDIA bloc would be fielded are ‘frustrated’. Amid alleged controversies surrounding the AIMIM and BJP candidates, those who were expecting the contest to be on the development plank are disgruntled.

Given the fact that the constituency witnessed less than 45 per cent voting in 2019, some of them, while urging an increase in voting percentage, pushed for NOTA as an available option for voters. Rather than abstaining from voting this time, as a show of disapproval of all the candidates, press the NOTA button, said activists.

Social media is slowly witnessing a surge in the campaign in support of NOTA, citing that none of the major political parties are now speaking about the development. “Let’s show that we reject communal politics: vote for NOTA. We expected these elections in Hyderabad to be a contest between communalism and secularism. But communal forces managed to stop secular parties from contesting elections in Hyderabad constituency,” says a social media post, under circulation on WhatsApp.

This is supported by activists, some of whom took part in meetings with AICC incharge Deepa Dasmunshi and had hoped that the Congress would field a strong contender or someone representing the INDIA bloc. “It appears that all the political parties in Hyderabad have arrangements. The picture is much clearer now that both the BJP and AIMIM are trying to polarise votes in Hyderabad and stir up communal passions. Feroz Khan made it clear that Congress was going with AIMIM, and even leaders like Amjedullah Khan did not file nominations for Hyderabad. We believe that no one is fit to represent Hyderabad, so it has been decided to go for NOTA,” said a social activist who took part in Congress’ meetings as part of outreach.

Sayed Safder Ali Moosvi of the Forum for Old City Youth, who has been lamenting about the State of affairs in Hyderabad constituency, also backed the NOTA, citing ‘no option’ for voters. “Hyderabad has remained a constituency with low voter turnout. I feel that people who would rather stay away should become part of the electoral process and exercise their franchise. Since ECI has given the NOTA option, they may express their dissent by pressing the button. Historically, in some places, re-election was also conducted based on NOTA votes,” says Safder, a social media influencer.

The youngster, who also caught the media attention during the Assembly polls, wondered why the largest democracy on earth does not have real issues and elections are fought on communal issues. “I had hoped that at least this time Hyderabad would have polls on the development plank, but I am disappointed. The polarisation would not benefit anyone,” added Safder.

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