Amid huge NDA win, NOTA makes its presence felt in Bihar
Bihar mostly witnessed direct contests between the NDA and the Grand Alliance (GA) in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Bihar, but there were 626 candidates in fray for the 40 Lok Sabha seats, mostly as Independents or from regional parties and over 120 unrecognised parties registered in Bihar.
But very few of them could make an impact, as NOTA was placed third in 13 constituencies, leaving many candidates high and dry. On many seats, votes polled in NOTA were quite high, but so was the difference between the top two, with NDA candidates romping home with consummate ease at most places.
Gopalganj (reserved) seat, where JD-U’s Alok Kumar Suman won in a one-sided contest, polled the maximum number of votes (51,565) in NOTA, followed by West Champaran (45,606 votes), where BJP’s Dr Sanjay Jaiswal defeated RLSP’s Brajesh Kumar Kushwaha by nearly 3 lakh votes.
Jamui, where LJP’s Chirag Paswan defeated RJD’s Sudhansu Shekhar Bhaskar by 8,5000 votes, was ranked third with 39,450 votes under NOTA.
Samastipur, which witnessed a repeat of the 2014 contest between NDA candidate Ramchandra Paswan and Congress’ Dr Ashok Kumar, was ranked fourth in NOTA votes.
Samastipur had witnessed higher number of NOTA votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, when Paswan had edged past Kumar by just 6,872 votes, while the highest number of NOTA votes were polled in the state at 29,211. In 2019, NOTA polled even higher in Samastipur with 35,380 votes.
Independents finished third on 12 seats, with Congress rebel Dr Shakeel Ahmad performing the best by receiving 1,31,416 votes in Madhubani, followed by BJP rebel candidate Putul Kumari in Banka who got 91,485 votes.
Among the national parties, BSP fared the best, finishing third on five Bihar seats. Sushil Kumar Singh got the highest number of votes (74,883) votes as BSP candidate in Buxar, followed Deepak Yadav (60,400 votes) in Valmiki Nagar.
DM Diwakar, former director of AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies said growing proclivity towards NOTA was a clear sign that a good chunk of people in this Lok Sabha elections did not find any candidate worth voting.
“It is a kind of warning from the electorate to the political parties to field better candidates. Finding their options limited, they go for NOTA.”