The Assembly elections of Maharashtra and Haryana saw a total of 5,34,235 voters opting for the None of the Above (NOTA) option. While 0.9 per cent of the voters in Maharashtra — 4,82,574 — chose NOTA, in Haryana 0.4 per cent went for it. In Maharashtra, NOTA seemed to be more popular in tribal areas with all the tribal constituencies recording significant NOTA votes.
In Maharashtra, the number of voters who pressed NOTA were more than the votes cast for established parties like Communist Party of India (Marxist), Samajwadi Party, Swambhimani Paksha, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and others.
The CPM, Samajwadi Party and RSP have all managed to win one seat each. In Haryana, NOTA option was exercised by 53, 608 people which was 0.4 per cent of the votes polled.
In Maharashtra, NOTA also seemed to be more popular in the rural areas of Marathwada than in Western Maharashtra.
In the tribal parts of the state like Akkalkuwa, Shahada, Kalwan, Aheri and others, NOTA was preferred by a large number of people. By far, Gadchiroli and Aheri clocked the highest numbers of NOTA votes with 17,510 and 7,349 people going for it.
In Akkalkuwa constituency of Nandurbar, 4,161 people opted for NOTA and in the tribal constituency of Boisar, 3,126 people opted for it. In Dahanu, 4,498 voters went for NOTA.
However, in urban areas, only a fraction of voters exercised NOTA. In all the eight urban seats of Pune district 13,860 NOTA votes were polled with Khadakwasla leading the count clocking 2,108 votes.
Similarly, in Mumbai, Nagpur urban areas NOTA was exercised by a comparatively small number.
The increase in use of NOTA in tribal areas is a result of several cadre-based organisations going for it to show their displeasure with the policies of the government. Prathibha Shinde of the Loksangarsh Morcha said many organisations regularly go for NOTA option in elections.
Source: Indian Express