The ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option on EVMs – which allows voters to exercise their right to disapprove of all the candidates – has become the fourth largest contender in most of the constituencies in Bengal, leaving political parties such as BSP, CPI, Forward Bloc, SUCI and independent candidates way behind.
While in Bengal NOTA secured the fourth rank in most of the constituencies after Trinamool Congress, Left-Cong alliance and BJP, the scenario was pretty much the same in three out of four other states – Puducherry, Assam and Tamil Nadu – where elections were recently held. Kerala was an exception with a poor NOTA share. In Assam, more votes were cast in favour of NOTA than Trinamool Congress.
Of the 6.55 crore odd electors in West Bengal, more than eight lakh voters seemed to be exasperated with the leaders and didn’t want to vote for any of the candidates. They opted for ‘None of The Above’ (NOTA) option.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, a little above five lakh voters had opted for NOTA in the state. The rise was by a whopping 60%.
While the vote share of NOTA has jumped from 1.1% in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, when it was first introduced in EVMs and ballot papers, to 1.5% in the recently-held 2016 assembly polls in the state, in Puducherry the vote share of NOTA was the highest with 1.7% among all the five states. Kerala recorded the lowest NOTA share with just 0.5%.
“In West Bengal, political parties such as SUCI and CPI and independent candidates got fewer votes than NOTA. While the vote share of NOTA was 1.5%, SUCI could secure only 0.7% votes and CPI – an ally of the Left Front – got 1.4% votes,” said a senior official of the poll panel.
In Bhawanipore from where Mamata Banerjee won the polls, NOTA ranked 4th with 2461 votes.
In a few constituencies such as Darjeeling NOTA secured more than 5,000 votes.
The Election Commission of India had introduced NOTA option on EVMs and all other ballot papers in October 2013 after a Supreme Court order in 2013.
NOTA made its debut in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Approximately 59.59 lakh voters across the country, which made up 1.1 % votes polled, had made the NOTA their
The symbol appears in the last panel on all EVMs and ballot papers. The option has also been allocated a symbol for voters to identify it easily.