- Congress has moved Supreme Court against use of NOTA in Rajya Sabha polls
- It alleges that NOTA is an attempt to influence the result in Gujarat
- BJP says NOTA against ethos of indirect elections
Both parties have opposed the use of this option in the polls on Tuesday - the BJP has gone to the Election Commission and the Congress has petitioned the Supreme Court.
NOTA, which allows a voter to reject all candidates, is against the ethos of indirect elections, the BJP has said.
The Congress has echoed the view and said in the Supreme Court that "there is no constitutional provision for NOTA in the Rajya Sabha polls and no order from the Election Commission".
The Election Commission has said NOTA is not a "new direction" and was introduced in 2014.
The Congress objection to NOTA is being seen in the context of its prestige battle in Gujarat, Congress president Sonia Gandhi's aide Ahmed Patel is seeking another Rajya Sabha term from the state.
Six lawmakers have quit the Congress and to prevent more defections, the party flew over 40 legislators to Bengaluru, where they are staying in a luxury resort. Desperately trying to keep its flock together, the party has accused Gujarat's ruling BJP of trying every trick possible to break the Congress and poach its lawmakers ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls and also the state election later this year.
The Congress alleges that NOTA, which will be available for the first time in a Rajya Sabha election, is an attempt to influence the result in Gujarat.
If a lawmaker defies the party and votes for someone else or uses NOTA, he cannot be disqualified.
The party is free to take disciplinary action like expelling the member, who will still remain a lawmaker and his vote cannot be cancelled, according to Election Commission rules.
In Rajya Sabha polls, legislators have to show their ballot paper to an authorised party agent before putting it in ballot box.
"The use of NOTA in an indirect election is contrary to the mandate of the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act and election rules," the Congress insists. Its leaders have been trying to press the point home.
"First Rajya Sabha election was postponed. Second NOTA was permitted post notification. Reasons best known to the Election Commission," tweeted Ahmed Patel.