According to latest data from the Election Commission of India, about 4.3 lakh voters across the country pressed â€˜NOTA‘ on the electronic voting machines in the assembly elections
In September 2013, the Supreme Court had ordered that all Indian voters should be given an option to choose ‘None of the Above’ popularly known as NOTA if they are do not wish to vote for any of the candidates standing in for elections in that particular location. While in the initial stages, NOTA failed to make an impact, assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa in 2017 have brought NOTA votes to the forefront.
According to latest data from the Election Commission of India, about 4.3 lakh voters across the country pressed ‘NOTA’ on the electronic voting machines. Of this, Uttar Pradesh with 403 constituencies has the largest share of NOTA votes at over 3.2 lakh. Punjab had about 65,000 NOTA votes and Uttarakhand at 30,000 NOTA votes.
Election Commission in the past has said that while NOTA votes are counted, they are considered invalid votes. Hence, even if 98 of 100 voters in a particular constituency chose NOTA and one candidate gets 2 votes, he will be declared a winner. India follows the first past the post system in elections wherein whichever candidates gets one vote more than the second candidate wins in the election in a particular location. Therefore, political experts are of the view that NOTA is essentially a wastage of a vote since it makes no impact in the electoral outcome in any election, be it assembly elections or the Lok Sabha elections.
The objective with which NOTA was introduced was to enable the electorate, who do not wish to vote for any of the candidates, to exercise their right without violation of the secrecy of their decision.
Source: Election Commission of India
Note: Data for counting till 12pm, March 11