NOTA: A political statement loud and clear in Kerala

The high number of NOTA votes and votes cast for independents in the Lok Sabha polls reflect the discontent among CPM cadres towards the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government, according to political observers.
Image used for representational purpose
Image used for representational purpose (Photo | EPS)

KOCHI: A close look at the voting figures of the 2924 LS elections in the state indicates that there was a drastic rise in the number of voters who opted for NOTA.

The number of NOTA votes ranged from 8,000 to 12,000 in eight constituencies out of a total of 20 segments. In total, 1,58,026 votes were cast for NOTA, accounting for a vote share of 0.7%. In the previous 2019 polls, 1,04,089 votes were cast for NOTA, representing a vote share of 0.51%.

The high number of NOTA votes and votes cast for independents in the Lok Sabha polls reflect the discontent among CPM cadres towards the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government, according to political observers. They believe that cadres who were unwilling to vote for party candidates following the anti-people policies of the government chose the NOTA option to express their dissent.

Political analyst Dijo Kappen said that the discontent among hardcore CPM cadres was so strong that they went to the polling booths and voted either for NOTA or for independents who were irrelevant in the election.

“The party has a mechanism to find out cadres who do not venture out and cast their votes. To avoid this, the CPM cadres went to polling booths and marked their votes to NOTA or some other lesser known independent candidates. This reflected in the higher votes polled in these two categories,” he said.

In the 2024 polls, the highest number of NOTA votes – 12,033- was recorded in Alathur Lok Sabha constituency, the only seat won by the LDF in the state. The lowest- 2,909 votes - was in Vadakara which saw a tight contest between the UDF and LDF.

Political analyst J Prabhash also echoed a similar view that CPM cadres might have cast their votes either for NOTA or independents. “

A person who opposes the three political fronts can abstain from casting his vote. However, one who wants to cast his vote but does not want to vote for a particular party, definitely chooses these options,” he pointed out.

In Attingal LS seat, where Congress leader Adoor Prakash won by a narrow margin of 684 votes, there were 9,791 NOTA votes. Additionally, namesakes independents Prakash P L and Prakash S secured 1,814 and 811 votes respectively, while another independent, Santhosh K, garnered 1,204 votes.

1,04,089 NOTA votes cast in 2019

  • In 2019 LS polls, the highest number of NOTA votes was polled in Alathur – 7,722

  • The second highest was recorded in Kottayam – 7,191

  • The lowest was in Wayanad – 2,132 – where Rahul Gandhi contested for the first time in the state

  • In Alappuzha, the lone seat won by the LDF, the votes polled for NOTA were 6,104. However, this time it increased to 7,365

1,58,026 NOTA votes cast in 2024

  • The highest number of NOTA votes – 12,033 – was recorded in Alathur Lok Sabha constituency, the only seat won by the LDF in the state

  • The lowest number of NOTA votes – 2,909 – was recorded in Vadakara which saw a fierce campaign by the UDF and LDF

  • In Attingal, where Congress leader Adoor Prakash won by a narrow margin of 684 votes, there were 9,791 NOTA votes

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