BENGALURU: As many as 3.22 lakh voters selected the NOTA (None Of The Above) option in the state in the recent assembly polls. This constitutes 0.9% of the votes polled. Enlightened, disillusioned, angry and even young voters opted for NOTA both in rural and urban areas. Political analysts say this shows the discontent among voters with candidates who have criminal or corrupt background but were still fielded by parties. Also, the voters may have shown their anger against parties on a particular issue.
Political watcher Mohan Ram says that recently, an advertisement put by a Dalit association in vernacular dailies, called upon their community to exercise NOTA. “The left group of Dalits are disenchanted with political parties not giving tickets to them. So, they had come out with a full page advertisement in Kannada dailies to shun Congress candidates and opt for NOTA. The appeal given by these associations may have resulted in many of them opting for NOTA.”
Political scientist R L M Patil, however, says this is the most useless option ever introduced without much thought and the vote goes a waste. He adds, “In Gujarat elections, NOTA votes exceeded in 27 seats, while Congress and BJP candidates emerged victorious. So what is the use of NOTA? A petition was filed in the Supreme Court for elections to be re-held but the court ruled that they had no powers to give a ruling on this. In fact, without any provisions or powers, the NOTA option was introduced in a hurry and so this is a useless option to be exercised in the present scenario.” NOTA option was exercised in Karnataka in the 2014 General elections and 2.57 lakh people opted for it to demonstrate their anger and disillusionment on the selection of the candidates. However, this was the first assembly polls in Karnataka with NOTA as the option came into being only in September 2013.
How many were polled
2014 Lok Sabha polls
2018 assembly polls