Meerut: By filling up the Form-17-A, a voter can dislike a candidate under the ‘Right to abstain’. However he has to give a reason for that. But during the sixth phase polls of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, the presiding officer denied voters in Meerut of ‘Form-17 A’. While a few succeeded in their endeavor, many others were forced to cast their votes by the polling officials.

As per the rule, when a voter decides not to cast his vote, he has to inform the presiding officer immediately after having signed on the Register of Voters, and having received the voter's slip from the second polling officer.

Thereafter, the presiding officer takes back the voter's slip and proceeds to record in the remark's column of the Register of Voters that the voter has declined to exercise his franchise. The voter is then supposed to put his signature under such entry. Once this is done, he can leave the polling station without proceeding to the voting compartment. The above process is referred to as exercising the right to abstain under Rule 49 (O) of the Representation of People's Act.

In spite of this, at Bramhapuri’s (Meerut) booth number 207, VK Gupta, Balesh and Ashok Kumar were not given forms 17 A. At RG Inter College’s booth number 260, Dr Tanuj Sirohi also was not given the form. The presiding officer just asked him to write down his opinions on the register.

JPN/Bureau