In the year 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of inserting the ‘None of the Above’ or ‘NOTA’, option in electronic voting machines, the judges had fervently hoped that ‘when political parties realize what a large number of people are choosing NOTA and expressing their disapproval, then there will be systematic change, and political parties will be forced to field candidates who are known for their integrity.’ This ruling of the Supreme Court had compelled the Election Commission of India to introduce the NOTA button on EVMs for the first time for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Now, five years later, in the recently held parliamentary polls, voters in Bihar pressed the NOTA on their voting machines as people possessed. The voters seemed oblivious to the so-called ‘Modi wave’ sweeping the country, including in Bihar where the BJP-led National Domestic Alliance won 39 of the state’s 40 LokSabha seats, so steadfast were they in expressing their distaste against the candidates that mainstream political parties had fielded for the 2019 polls.
NOTA’s performance in Bihar was incredible as in Gopalganj, which is a reserved constituency, polled 51,660 NOTA votes and Paschim Champaran polled 45,699 such votes. NOTA bagged between 30,000 and 40,000 votes in seven constituencies in Bihar, then between 20,000 and 30,000 in twelve constituencies, and then between 10,000 and 20,000 in six constituencies. While the remaining 13 seats registered less than 10,000 NOTA votes, which is considered par for the course. Bihar’s performance with NOTA should persuade the Election Commission to alter the rules to turn it into a more lethal political weapon. As NOTA polls the highest number of votes in the constituency and it limits NOTA’s efficacy as people cannot band together to prevent an unsavory politician from entering the LokSabha.
Tags : #NOTA #NOTABihar #ElectionCommission #EC #NOTABiharElections