Nota outperforms SP, NCP, RLD

Voters are using this powerful tool to send message to parties that they don't deserve votes.

Hyderabad: “We could’ve won the elections, had it not been for Nota,” could be the latest refrain of all disgruntled defeated candidates and parties, going by the huge number of voters who chose the ‘none of the above’ option in the just-concluded elections to five state Assemblies of Telangana state, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram, according to the Election Commission of India data.

While contestants may rue Nota as unfair, the results have shown that voters are using this powerful option to clearly send out a message to parties and candidates that none of them are good enough to earn their vote.

In Telangana state, there was a massive increase of 47 per cent in Nota votes to about 2.25 lakh, compared to the 2014 polls. A total of 2,24,709 voters pressed the Nota option on EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines), rejecting all the candidates in their respective constituencies, as against 1.52 lakh in the 2014 elections. Nota accounted for 1.1 per cent of the around 2.05 crore votes cast in the December 7 elections.

Nota is a spoiler, candidates may argue, if one were to compare the winning margin of a candidate vis-a-vis the votes polled by Nota. In the Amberpet Assembly in Telangana state, Nota votes stood at 1,462, which is more than the 1,016 votes by which BJP candidate B. Kishan Reddy lost to Kaleru Venkatesham of the TRS.

Likewise, in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior seat, where Congress candidate Praveen Pathak polled 56,369 votes, the BJP’s Narayan Singh Kushwah got 56,248 — a margin of 121 seats. Nota, however, secured 1,550 votes.

Health minister Kalicharan Saraf in the outgoing Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government won by 1,704 votes from Malviyanagar constituency, where 2,371 voters exercised the Nota option.

In Madhya Pradesh, while the BJP polled 1,56,42,980 votes, the Congress got 1,55,95,153, a difference of 52,173. However, the number of votes Nota polled is 5,42,295. Any party could have won with just a fragment of Nota votes.

In the electrifying Rajasthan elections, the Congress polled 1,39,35,201 votes, the BJP secured 1,37,57,502, the difference being 1,77,699 votes. Nota here polled 4,67,781 votes. Psephologists say that votes polled under Nota could have yielded seven to eight more seats to either the Congress or the BJP.

Nota option gives the voter the choice to reject all candidates in the election fray. The total number of votes for Nota arrived at is the sum total of the number of Nota votes polled for various candidates, thereby eating into the vote share of the contesting parties.

In Rajasthan, Nota got a vote share of 1.3 per cent, polling 4,67,781 votes higher than Samajwadi Party (0.2 per cent), NCP (0.2 per cent), RLD (0.3 per cent), CPM (1.2 per cent) and so on.

In Madhya Pradesh, Nota garnered 1.4 per cent polling 5,42,295 votes which is higher than SP, (1.3 per cent) and AAP (0.02 per cent) and so on.

Likewise in Chhatti-sgarh, Nota’s vote share was 2.0 per cent or 2,82,744 votes, which is higher than the vote share secured by SP, AAP, NCP or the CPI. In Mizoram, too, it was no different with Nota getting 0.5 per cent i.e, 2,917 votes more than one of the local parties — the Prism Party — which got 1,262 votes.

While the jury is still out on whether or not Nota votes do play a decisive role for any of the candidates to score, it does send a message that the voter’s decision is final. When asked if he would have won had Nota votes been polled in his favour, BJP’s Amberpet candidate Kishan Reddy said, “It’s people’s mandate.”And if people are showing that they are simply not impressed by any of the candidates they are being asked to vote for, then said candidates and their parties had better pull up their socks and deliver something better.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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