Many takers for NOTA in Puducherry, Chhattisgarh

Many takers for NOTA in Puducherry, Chhattisgarh

Many takers for NOTA in Puducherry, Chhattisgarh

The “None-of-the-Above” or ‘NOTA’ option found maximum takers in the Union Territory of Puducherry, where about three per cent voters have pressed the new option made available on Electronic Voting Machines to reject all the candidates in the fray.

While 2.8 per cent voters pressed the NOTA button in the two parliamentary constituencies of the north-eastern state of Meghalaya, 1.8 per cent opted it in Chhattisgarh – mostly in Maoist-infested regions of the State.

In Bastar constituency in the Maoist hotbed of Chhattisgarh, Dinesh Kashyap of Bharatiya Janata Party beat his nearest rival Deepak Karma of the Congress by a margin of 1,24,359 votes, while 38,772 voters opted NOTA – rejecting all the eight candidates, including Aam Aadmi Party’s Soni Sori, who was once arrested and tried for her alleged links with the ultra-leftist insurgents.

While the BJP’s Vikram Dev Usendi beat Congress’ Foolodevi Netam by a margin of 35,158 votes in Kanker, another constituency affected by Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh, altogether 31,917 voters pressed the NOTA button.

A similar trend of large NOTA voting was seen in Jharkhand, where Singbhum recorded 27,037 votes under the category and 23,816 in Khunti.

This was the first parliamentary election in which the EVMs with NOTA buttons were used in accordance with the September 27, 2013 order from the Supreme Court.

The Election Commission had for the first time introduced the NOTA buttons on the EVMs, which had been used for the November, 2013 polls in the four States – Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Mizoram – and the National Capital Territory of Delhi. And, as anticipated by a section within the security establishment of the Government, the new option had found maximum takers in Chhattisgarh, particularly in the 12 assembly constituencies in the stronghold of the ultra-leftist insurgents.

Similarly, during the parliamentary elections too, the Maoist-infested constituencies witnessed a large number of voters opting for the NOTA. About 0.9 per cent voters opted for NOTA in Jammu and Kashmir - another conflict zone.