Mumbai, Oct 21: The Maharashtra Assembly elections witnessed a surge in number of people going for None Of the Above (NOTA) option in Mumbai, as against the total number of NOTA votes cast in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
In a total of 36 Assembly seats in Mumbai, 65,735 people chose to reject all the candidates in their constituencies, while 52,952 people in all opted for NOTA in the general elections held in April-May.
The number of voters who pressed the NOTA option across Maharashtra were more than the votes cast for smaller parties like Communist Party of India (Marxist), Samajwadi Party, Swabhimani Shetkari Paksha, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and others in the Assembly polls.
In Maharashtra, NOTA has emerged to be more popular in rural areas of Marathwada than in Western Maharashtra. According to figures made available by the Election Commission, 4,60,741 voters or 0.9 percent voters opted for NOTA, out of a total of 8,25,91,826 people eligible to cast their vote in Maharashtra. Chandivali constituency in Mumbai from where former minister Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan of the Congress was elected with a margin of 29,469 votes, about 4653 NOTA votes were registered, the highest in the metropolis.
This was followed by Vikhroli constituency, where Sunil Raut of the Shiv Sena won by a margin of 25,339 votes. The number of people who opted for NOTA in this constituency were 3251. The lowest number of NOTA votes were polled in Mumbadevi constituency, where Amin Patel of the Congress won by a margin of 8513 votes. 802 people went for NOTA option on this seat.
After the Supreme Court order in September last year, the Election Commission added the NOTA button on Electronic Voting Machines as the last option on the voting panel. Prior to the apex court order, those not inclined to vote for any candidate had the option of filling what is popularly called 'form 49-O'. But filling the form at the polling station under Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, compromised with the secrecy of the voter.