Nota in Elections: The ‘popularity’ of ‘NOTA’ in elections is increasing continuously in the country. This should be seen as a warning to various political parties. The NOTA (none of the above) option introduced in India through the Supreme Court’s decision of 27 September 2013 is fast becoming a strong option among the country’s voters to reject candidates. In the last five years, during the assembly and Lok Sabha elections of various states combined, more than 1.29 crore voters pressed the NOTA (None of the above) button in EVMs.
An in-depth analysis of votes conducted jointly by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) found that 1,29, 77,627 voters opted for NOTA in the assembly and Lok Sabha elections from 2018 to 2022. According to the report, NOTA got an average of 64,53,652 votes in the state assembly elections. Overall, NOTA got 65,23,975 (1.06 per cent) votes, the report said.
Maximum in Gopalganj parliamentary seat
Among the NOTA votes in the Lok Sabha elections, the highest number of votes i.e. 51,660 were in Gopalganj (SC) constituency of Bihar, while the lowest NOTA votes, i.e. 100, were in Lakshadweep. In the state assembly elections, NOTA has secured the highest percentage of votes in 2020, at 1. In the assembly elections of two states – Bihar and Delhi, 7,06,252 votes went to NOTA. In this, 43,108 votes went to NCT Delhi and 7,49,360 votes went to NOTA in Bihar.
lowest in 2022
NOTA has achieved the lowest vote percentage in 2022. In the assembly elections of five states, a total of 0.8 percent or 8,15,430 votes went to NOTA. 10,629 votes have gone to Goa, 10,349 votes to Manipur, 1,10,308 votes to Punjab, 6,37,304 votes to Uttar Pradesh and 46,840 votes to NOTA in Uttarakhand.
– NOTA secured the highest number of votes (7,42,134) in Maharashtra in the state assembly election, 2019, and the lowest NOTA votes (2,917) in the 2018 Mizoram assembly election.
NOTA secured the highest vote share i.e. 1.98 percent in the Chhattisgarh State Legislative Assembly, 2018.
NOTA secured the lowest percentage of vote share i.e. 0.46 percent in both Delhi State Assembly Elections, 2020 and Mizoram State Assembly Elections, 2018.
The NOTA option was offered to Indian voters after the Supreme Court’s decision in 2013. The country’s Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been programmed to register NOTA votes in state assembly and general elections. A new symbol representing the NOTA option was introduced in 2015. Before NOTA, the Indian electoral system allowed negative voting in a separate registry under Section 49(o). However, it did not retain voter anonymity and was closed. Many other countries also allow NOTA vote.
The idea behind the introduction of NOTA was to encourage more and more people to come out and vote. Earlier when the average voter was dissatisfied with the candidates put up by the contesting parties, he did not go out to vote. The Supreme Court said that with the introduction of NOTA, political parties will be encouraged to present clean and popular candidates. This is the equivalent of “abstaining from voting” used by MPs in Parliament.