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NOTA in 2014: UP 1st, Tamil Nadu 2nd, Bihar 3rd

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New Delhi, April 06: The None of the Above (NOTA) has been provided as an option to the voters of India in most elections. Through the usage of NOTA, a citizen can choose not to vote for any candidates who are contesting the elections.

In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the voters of Uttar Pradesh pressed NOTA button 592331 times and made the state top in India in using the option. The percentage of NOTA votes was 0.73 out of total 81118615 votes.

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Tamil Nadu voters were second in giving negative feedback to the contesting candidates. The number of NOTA votes in the state was 581782, which was 1.43% of total 40644282 votes.

Bihar was on the third spot with 580964 NOTA votes, which were 1.62% of total 35892459 votes. The voters of West Bengal polled 571294 NOTA votes, which were 1.11% of total 51662564 votes.

Gujarat was on the 5thposition where 454885 voters chose the NOTA option. The percentage of NOTA was 1.76 out of total 25849655 votes.

Gujarat was followed by Maharashtra where 433171 NOTA votes were polled out of total 48740403 votes. The percentage of NOTA in the state was 0.89.

There were four states where the number of NOTA votes was more than three lakh.

The total number of NOTA votes in Madhya Pradesh was 391837, which was 1.32% of total 29648105 votes. Out of total 48467721 votes in Andhra Pradesh, there were 340554 NOTA votes. The percentage of NOTA votes was 0.70 in the state. Odisha voters pressed NOTA button 332766 times, which was 1.54% of total 21542724 votes. The total number of NOTA votes in Rajasthan was 327911, which was 1.21% of total 2713376 votes.

There were five states where the number of NOTA votes was more than one lakh but less than three lakh: Karnataka - 257881, Chhattisgarh- 224889, Kerala- 210563, Jharkhand- 190927, and Assam- 147057.

There were ten states where the number of NOTA votes was more than 10000 but less than one lakh: Punjab- 58754, Uttarakhand- 48043, Delhi- 39690, Haryana- 34220, Jammu and Kashmir- 31550, Meghalaya- 30145, Himachal Pradesh- 29155, Tripura- 23783, Puducherry- 22268, and Goa- 10103.

LAKSHADWEEP POLLED LOWEST NOTA VOTES:

There were ten states where the number of NOTA votes was less than 10000. Lakshadweep was the state where only 123 voters pressed the NOTA button.

The other states in this category were: Manipur- 7504, Mizoram- 6495, Arunachal Pradesh- 6321, Sikkim- 4332, Chandigarh- 3106, Dadra & Nagar Haveli- 2962, Nagaland- 2696, Andaman & Nicobar Islands- 1564, and Daman & Diu- 1316.

In 2014, the total number of NOTA votes was 6002942, which was 1.08% of total 554175255 votes. It will be interesting to watch how many votes NOTA will get in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

NOTA: A spoilsport

It was in 2009 when the Election Commission of India approached the Supreme Court with a request to offer the NOTA option in the ballot box. Since 2013, the NOTA option is there in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

With the introduction of NOTA, India became the 14th country to establish negative voting. However, it's only a method to give negative feedback. NOTA does not hold any electoral value i.e. even if the maximum votes are for NOTA, the candidate with maximum vote share will still be the winner.

Since its introduction, NOTA has gained increasing popularity amongst the Indian electorate and on many ocassions has played a spoilsport by securing more votes than the victory margin in many elections.

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For instance, NOTA secured the fourth largest vote-share, after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress andIndependentsin Gujarat Assembly polls in 2017. There were 30 seats where NOTA secured more votes than the margin of victory. In as many as 118 constituencies, NOTA was the third largest after the two parties.

In 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections, More votes were polled for NOTA-or "none of the above" option- than six smaller parties in Karnataka. These included two that have a nation-wide presence-the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

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