The BJP appears set to form a government in Gujarat after winning around 49 percent of the votes in Assembly elections, while the Congress made modest gains by winning 41.4 percent of the votes cast. Meanwhile, 'None Of The Above' (NOTA) garnered 1.8 percent of votes with 5,42,196 voters (as of 4.12 pm), according to data from the Election Commission (EC).
According to a report in India Today, NOTA garnered more votes than the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combined.
The Hindu reported that in constituencies such as Somnath, Naranpura and Gandhidham, NOTA captured more votes than some registered parties.
In Porbandar, the BJP's Babubhai Bokhriya won by a mere 1,855 votes, while NOTA received 3,433 votes, The Hindu reported.
This is the first time that the Gujarat electorate had the option of choosing NOTA in an Assembly election, The Quint reported.
According to a report in Governance Now, NOTA was introduced by the Election Commission of India in October 2013, following an order of the Supreme Court on 27 September, 2013. NOTA is represented by an X symbol on ballot paper at the end of the panel. NOTA allows voters to make a choice not to vote for any candidate offered by political parties, according to the Governance Now report.
During the 2012 Gujarat Assembly elections, NOTA option was not available on the Electronic Voting Machines.
According to an anonymous political analyst quoted by PTI, NOTA, when introduced in the 2014 general elections, was used by over 4.20 lakh voters in Gujarat. "That time, the Congress was going through its worst political phase and a strong anti-incumbency sentiment was prevailing across the central and western India. Still, some 4.20 lakh voters (in Gujarat) used NOTA," the analyst said.
"This time, some socio-economic segments are disappointed with the ruling BJP. Some castes are aggressively opposing the saffron party, while some sectors, such as small and medium scale industries, are severely criticising it for the way it introduced GST and pushed for it. The NOTA votes will come from these sectors, who had earlier supported the BJP leaders," he said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 18, 2017 20:29:15 IST