NOTA or None of the Above makes its debut in the Karnataka assembly elections today. The state had for the first time witnessed NOTA in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but it is a first in the assembly segment.
In the 2014 polls, 2.57 lakh persons and exercised NOTA. The poll saw the electorate rejecting 434 candidates under this provision in 2014. The provision was also exercised during the by-elections in Karnataka, but it would be the first time that it would be witnessed in a general assembly election in Karnataka.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), in a report, said that in the red alert constituencies where three or more candidates have a criminal background, NOTA was exercised the most. This time there are 56 such constituencies and there is a possibility of NOTA being exercised in high numbers.
NOTA was rolled out in September 2013 and since then it has secured over 1.33 crore hits in the various elections including the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
"In by-elections in Goa, NCT of Delhi and Andhra Pradesh, a large number of people voted for NOTA, making its vote share the third or fourth highest in the respective constituencies," the ADR report says.
ADR says in the Nandyal by-poll at Andhra Pradesh last year out of the 1.7 lakh electorate only 1,382 voted for the Congress while 1,231 chose NOTA.
In its recommendation, ADR says that fresh elections should be conducted in constituencies where NOTA gets a little above 50% of the total votes. "In the fresh elections, only a candidate who gets at least 50%+1 of the votes cast should be declared elected," it suggests.