Did NOTA stand in between BJP and a majority in Karnataka?
What came in between the BJP and an absolute majority was Bengaluru. It was a static performance by the BJP and it did not manage to add to its tally. The BJP would have hoped it had got at least 6 more seats in Bengaluru, but ended up 11 out of 26.
There are 28 constituencies in Bengaluru, but polls in Jayanagar were countermanded while the one at Rajarajeshwari Nagar was postponed.
Out of the 26 sitting MLAs in Bengaluru, 22 were re-elected, thus giving the impression that the Bengaluru voter had no qualms with their existing legislators. Analysts point out that the NOTA was also a factor in the city and 43,000 exercised this option. The highest number of NOTA votes were at Mahadevapura (3,482).
The highest number of NOTA votes were exercised in South Bengaluru. Out of the 3,31,348 people who voted in Bengaluru South constituency, 15,829 (4.8%) opted for NOTA. The residents of South Bengaluru were upset with the BBMP demolition drive that took place two years back. While they said that illegal structures must be razed, they questioned the logic of letting go of influential people. Hence NOTA was exercised in large numbers fearing that if they did not then their vote could be misused.
While NOTA may have not been a deciding factor in Bengaluru, it did play a role in seven other constituencies. Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Subramanian Swamy said that."at least 8 seats in Karnataka was lost by BJP by a margin less than NOTA. If I had been allowed to campaign in the election this would not have happened."
Overall NOTA polled around 0.9 per cent when compared to the 1.8 per cent polled in Gujarat. In Bihar NOTA polled 2.5 per cent while in West Bengal it was 1.52. NOTA in Karnataka was the highest in the Bengaluru South constituencies. In 28 other constituencies NOTA polled more than 2,000 votes of which majority are in the urban sectors.
In seven constituencies-Aland, Badami, Gadag, Hirekerur, Kungdol, Maski and Pavagada NOTA votes polled was more than the victory margin. In Aland the BJP won by 697 votes while NOTA was at 1,445. In Badami NOTA polled 2,007 and the victory margin was at 1,669
At Gadag there were 2,007 NOTA votes and the victory margin for the Congress was 1,868. In Hirekur the Congress won by a margin of 555 votes and the NOTA polled 972. At Kundgol, the Congress won by 634 votes as opposed to the 1,032 votes polled by NOTA. At Maski there were 2,049 who opted for NOTA and the Congress won by a margin of 213 votes. At Pavagada, the Congress won by 409 votes and NOTA polled 794.