The none of the above (NOTA) option had its visible impact on the outcome of election results in many constituencies in the Maoist-hit areas of Chhattisgarh.
The number of people who pressed the NOTA button in the Dantewada assembly constituency was more than the margin with which Devati Karma, wife of slain Congress leader Mahendra Karma, defeated her nearest rival Bhimaram Mandavi.
She won by a margin of 5,987 votes, less than the 9,670 voters who opted for NOTA.
The Election Commission had for the first time introduced the NOTA option on Electronic Voting Machines in five states - Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram - on the directions of the Supreme Court in October.
Before that, the NOTA could be exercised only through a paper ballot.
In Maoist-affected areas of Chhattisgarh, which recorded the all-time high turnout of 75%, voters exercised NOTA option to show dissent, though more than 3 lakh voters pressed NOTA button in the four states where votes were counted on Sunday.
In Narayanpur area of Chhattisgarh too, the NOTA votes outnumbered the victory margin of the winning candidate.
The results clearly show that the NOTA option played an important role in raising the polling percentage, with about 3% of the total votes polled falling in this category.
While the maximum number of NOTA votes was polled in Dantewada, about 10% of voters in Bijapur exercised the option showing they indirectly supported the call of Maoist leaders to boycott the polls.
About 70,000 people had come out to vote, double the number in 2008 polls.
The response to NOTA in the national capital was poor, but Shazia Ilmi of Aam Aadmi Party’s margin of defeat was less than the number of NOTA votes in the RK Puram constituency.
As many as 528 people opted for NOTA, whereas Azmi lost by about 326 votes. In most of the constituencies the people opting for NOTA in Delhi was less than 0.5% of the total votes polled.
In Rajasthan the BJP may have swept the polls but about 90,000 people exercised the option. In several constituencies in the state such as Ghotol, Deoli-Uniara and Chittorgarh, more than 3,000 people rejected all the candidates in fray.
In Madhya Pradesh, more than 1,000 voters used NOTA option in chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s assembly constituency Vidisha.
In all about 50,000 people rejected all the candidates in fray. The NOTA option was used more in tribal areas than in urban locations.