It was not just the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), but also the option to reject all candidates called Nota (none of the above), that made an impressive debut in 2013 assembly polls.
Data provided by Election Commission (EC) shows that Nota was the fourth largest vote catcher after Congress, BJP and BSP in the five poll-bound states.
The EC has provided the Nota option on the electronic voting machines following a Supreme Court order.
The Nota left behind many reputed parties like Samajwadi Party, CPI and CPI (M) and newly floated regional outfits such as the Gondava Gantantra Party, which contested in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Nota received around 16.8 lakh votes as compared to 3.7 crore for the BJP, 2.99 crore for the Congress and 41.46 lakh for the BSP. The most votes for Nota were polled in Chattisgarh (about 3 percent) followed by two percent in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In Delhi, where AAP emerged as the second largest force, the Nota votes were just 0.6%.
“Aam Aadmi Party was an alternative to Congress and BJP in Delhi and therefore, votes for Nota were less. In other states, there was no such alternative and votes for NOTA were higher,” Anurag Mittal, national coordinator of Association for Democratic Reforms said.
Voting for Nota could have been higher, he added, if the Election Commission had created adequate awareness about the new button on the EVM.
The EC’s data on party-wise vote polled showed that other than Congress and BJP, the total votes polled for other national and state parties such as CPIM, BSP and SP fell in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi.An analysis of over 100 parties that were in fray showed that around 90% of them weren’t able to secure even one percent of the votes polled.