'Nota' finds many takers in Chhattisgarh and a few in Delhi

'Nota' finds many takers in Chhattisgarh and a few in Delhi

A substantial number of voters in the Maoist-infested Bastar region in Chhattisgarh pressed the newly introduced “None-of-the-Above” (Nota) buttons on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), whereas not many opted for it in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

While 3.07 per cent of those who cast votes in Chhattisgarh opted for the Nota, only 0.63 per cent did so in Delhi, where the Aam Aadmi Party came up as an alternative choice for the people unhappy with the established political parties like the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). About 1.92 per cent voters in Rajasthan pressed the new button on the EVMs, while 1.9 per cent did so in Madhya Pradesh.

Complying with the September 27 Supreme Court order, the Election Commission, for the first time, introduced the Nota buttons on the EVMs used in the recent polls for the four states and the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

As anticipated by a section within the security establishment of the government, the new option found maximum takers in Chhattisgarh, particularly in the 12 constituencies in Bastar, a hotbed of ultra-leftist insurgency.

As many as 10,848 voters in Chitrakoot constituency of Bastar district rejected all the six candidates in the fray, while 9,677 did so in Dantewada. Altogether, 8,381 pressed the Nota buttons in Keshkal, with 7,179 in Bijapur and 6,731 in Narainpur.
Security officials in New Delhi were apprehensive of the possibility of the Maoist influence in Bastar and other red bastions of Chhattisgarh, resulting in high percentage of Nota votes.

Maoist insurgents have been calling for boycott of all elections in their strongholds and they did the same in the recent polls too.

The Nota found takers in all the 199 constituencies that went to polls in Rajasthan, with the number Nota votes ranging from 349 to 7,244. The newly-introduced option found maximum takers in 20 constituencies, including 16 reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. 

Altogether, 2,337 voters pressed the Nota buttons in Bhopal North constituency, where some social organisations encouraged the victims of the 1984 gas tragedy to use the option to give vent to their anger over inadequate compensation given to them.

In Delhi, however, the Nota found only a few takers, with just 49,892 opting for it and the number of total valid votes being 78,74,115. Altogether 6,43,144 opted for Nota in Madhya Pradesh, with the total number of valid votes being 33849550.
The Election Commission, however, on Saturday clarified that the votes polled by pressing the Nota buttons on the EVMs would not be considered valid and would not be taken into account to determine the candidates who would forfeit their security deposits.

The poll-panel had earlier clarified that even if the number of electors opting for the Nota option in a poll was more than the number of votes polled by any of the candidates, the one getting the largest number of votes would be declared winner.

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