Raipur, Given previous records during Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, the votes going to NOTA (none of the above) posed a major challenge before the political parties as they are directly influencing the outcome of the polls.
Chhattisgarh is perhaps the only state where gap between ruling party and main opposition was somewhere around 2 per cent in last three elections. Difference of votes between both the parties in 2013 Assembly elections was around 0.5 per cent against NOTA vote share of 3 per cent. It is clear that election results would have been different had candidates of both the main political parties received these votes.
NOTA stood 3rd on 34 out of 90 assembly seats of Chhattisgarh during last elections and 4th on 33 seats. NOTA had received more than five thousand seats on 17 seats of them. The margin of victory and defeat on 9 seats was much below NOTA vote-share. More than 4 lakh votes were cast as NOTA in the state that were more than 3 per cent above total votes polled in the elections.
According to senior journalist Diwakar Muktibodh, increase in NOTA votes as an outcome of growing political understanding and awareness among villagers and voters in tribal areas of state. Talking to the UNI, he said that it was absolutely false notion that villagers and those in tribal belts are mistakenly pressing NOTA button on EVMs.
Clearly, the parties are shrinking while candidates are becoming important. Political parties need to understand the fact that voters are cautioning them to field eligible and fit candidates.
NOTA has been influencing the prospect of candidates on 15 seats of state. NOTA was used by voters on several seats in remote Naxal-affected Bastar and Sarguja divisions, urban areas have not remained untouched of it.
As far as Bastar is concerned Naxalites have appealed to the people to boycott polling and in such a case NOTA’s role can become crucial. However, some people do not agree to this.