Voters said, ” NOTA record was bound to be made in Indore”

The Uncut

Indore. NOTA, which created a new national record by getting 2.18 lakh votes (16.28 percent of the total valid votes cast) in Indore Lok Sabha constituency, is once again in the headlines, but a large section of local voters do not seem to be very surprised by this record. If the voters are to be believed, they were already aware of the possibility of this record due to the open support of the main opposition party to NOTA after the change of sides by the declared candidate of the Congress.

Congress candidate Akshay Kanti Bam gave a big blow to the party by withdrawing his nomination on April 29, the last date for withdrawal of nomination, and he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) soon after. As a result, Congress was out of the electoral race for the first time in the 72-year history of this seat. Then Congress appealed to the local voters to teach BJP a lesson by pressing the ‘NOTA’ (none of the above) button on the electronic voting machine.

Bhuru Khan, a resident of the city’s cantonment area, told PTI-Bhasha, “NOTA was bound to create a record. If there is no strong opposition candidate in the fray, what else will happen?” Along with NOTA in Indore, outgoing MP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Shankar Lalwani also created a record. Lalwani defeated his nearest rival Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Sanjay Solanki by a huge margin of 11.75 lakh votes and retained BJP’s 35-year-old hold on this seat. This is the biggest margin of victory in the 543 seats across the country in the Lok Sabha elections.

Another resident of the city, Mahesh Verma, reacted, “Lalwani’s record was bound to be made because Indore is a stronghold of BJP and BJP’s main rival Congress was not even in the electoral fray.” Verma said that after the Congress candidate withdrew from the electoral fray, the traditional voters of this party expressed their anger, due to which ‘NOTA’ also made a record. Local resident Abhishek Agarwal said that ‘NOTA’ is an important weapon of voters’ disagreement.

Former Chief Election Commissioner of the country O P Rawat had recently told PTI-Bhasha that at present NOTA has a symbolic effect and it cannot have any effect on the election result of any seat. He had also said that only after NOTA gets more than 50 percent votes on any seat, this option of voting can be considered to be legally effective on the election result.

This time, a total of 14 candidates tried their luck in Indore Lok Sabha constituency, out of which 13 candidates lost their deposit. NOTA defeated all these 13 candidates and NOTA came second after Lalwani in terms of getting votes. In Indore, the 13 defeated candidates got a total of 1.16 lakh votes, while NOTA alone took 2.18 lakh votes. In the polling held on May 13 in Indore, out of a total of 25.27 lakh voters, 61.75 percent people cast their votes and out of these 13.43 lakh votes were found valid. 16.28 percent of the total valid votes went to NOTA.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, NOTA received the highest number of votes in the Gopalganj seat of Bihar. Then 51,660 voters of this area had opted for NOTA and about five percent of the total votes went to NOTA. Earlier, during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, NOTA got 46,559 votes in Nilgiris of Tamil Nadu and NOTA secured about five percent of the total votes cast. After the Supreme Court’s decision, the NOTA button was included in the electronic voting machine in September 2013. This voting option gives voters in an election constituency the right to reject all candidates.

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