RAIPUR: Apprehending the higher NOTA (None Of The Above) votes might yield implication in the election results in the Maoist-affected Dantewada Assembly constituency, the political parties are now finding ways to secure such 'votes of rejection' in favour of their candidate.
Ever since NOTA was inducted into the voting system in 2013, the Dantewada seat has witnessed the NOTA votes higher than the victory margins between the winner and the loser candidate.
In 2018, the BJP candidate Bheema Mandavi won the seat by a margin of 2172 votes as against the 9929 NOTA votes.
Similarly in 2013, for Congress candidate Devti Karma the victory margin of 5897 votes was less than 9677 the vote of discontent as NOTA option according to the Election Commission data.
It is believed the high NOTA votes are owing to both the Maoist factor as well as the choice rejection expressed.
The parties felt that securing the NOTA votes for their candidate remains challenging and crucial as it might impact the electoral outcome.
Though the political experts attributed the high NOTA votes more to the fear factor owing to the outlawed CPI (Maoist).
“The Naxals often go for poll boycott. They convey their opposition to the democratic process by issuing diktat. So even if the people exercise their right to franchise, a good number among them opt for NOTA. Secondly, the political parties still not taking any cue from the Supreme Court’s suggestion to nominate a sound candidate resulting in more NOTA votes. The parties sadly are taking decisions more out of the political compulsions rather than the merits of candidates,” affirmed the political analyst Sushil Trivedi who felt now the NOTA votes might decrease.
The opposition BJP asserted that their candidate will win over the trust of the electorates. “Our party has fielded a capable candidate in the fray. The people will get the right option to choose and help the democracy grow stronger in left-wing extremist areas,” said a senior BJP leader Naresh Gupta.
The ruling Congress leaders revealed that they have working hard on every facet of election campaign including the NOTA. “Our good governance and the groundwork will ensure the NOTA vote share now will fall sharply. The electorates will vote for better Congress candidate,” averred the PCC president Mohan Markam.
The by-polls in Dantewada seat was necessitated following the death of a sitting BJP MLA Bheema Mandavi. Barely two days before the first phase of polling in Bastar Lok Sabha constituency this year, he was killed along with four police personnel in a powerful IED blast triggered by the Naxals at Dantewada on April 9.
The voting in the bypoll is scheduled on September 23.