KOCHI: while the joy of victory and pain of defeat are perhaps yet to sink in for the political Fronts, there is a fast-emerging trend in the State's political arena - NOTA.
Firing warning shots of their dissatisfaction over the current political scenario, over one lakh voters chose to press the None of the Above (NOTA) button in the Assembly polls.
To be precise, 1,07,251 voters chose not to vote for any of the candidates in the list, while the margin of victory in five constituencies was less than the NOTA votes polled there.
In some of the constituencies where the victory margin was 2,000-3,000 votes, NOTA polled around 1,000 votes, thereby proving to be a decisive factor in picking the winner.
For instance, NDA's K Surendran lost by a slender margin of 89 votes in Manjeswaram, where NOTA registered 646 votes. In the Wadakkancherry constituency, where UDF's Anil Akkara won by a slender margin of 43 votes, following a fierce fight against Mary Thomas of the CPM, NOTA (968) played decisive role in the final outcome.
In Idukki, where the UDF's Syriac Thomas lost for a meager margin of 314 votes, NOTA polled 448 votes. In the Peerumedu Constituency, LDF's Biji Mol secured victory with a margin 314 votes, which was lesser than the 448 votes polled by NOTA.
Meanwhile, Speaker N Sakthan also seems to have fallen prey to the NOLTA impact as he lost to CPM's I B Satheesh for 849 votes, while the NOTA was 732.
The difference NOTA could have made
"This time, NOTA votes played a major role in deciding the winners. While NOTA is an option for voters to show their disapproval of all the contestants in an election, its value needs to be debated," said Centre for Public Policy Research chairman Dhanuraj.
Compared to the last Lok Sabha election, when NOTA was first introduced, the number of neutral votes polled in the Assembly election is much less.