Since the introduction of NOTA on the EVM, there has been an increased interest in the evaluation of NOTA vote share. Similar to the nationwide trend, the NOTA vote share in 2019 Jharkhand Assembly elections was less than the 2014 assembly elections.
NOTA option on the EVMs was introduced by Election Commission of India in October 2013, in accordance with the Supreme Court Judgement on 27September 2013, in People’s Union for Civil Liberties Vs the Union of India case.
A total of 46 elections (44 Assembly and 2 Lok Sabha) were conducted since the inception of NOTA, with the Assembly elections in Jharkhand being the latest one. As observed in an earlier story of Factly, the vote share of NOTA is on a continuous decline since its introduction.
Another general trend is that NOTA polls a higher share of votes in the reserved seats i.e. SC & ST than in the general constituencies.
Jharkhand is one of the states which has a sizeable ST population. In this story, we look at the NOTA related numbers in the recently concluded Jharkhand assembly elections.
Share of NOTA votes decreased in 2019 compared to 2014 Assembly elections
Both the assembly elections in 2014 and 2019 for the state of Jharkhand were held across 81 constituencies. Of these, 44 constituencies are in the ‘General’ category, 9 are SC reserved seats and 28 are ST reserved seats.
Out of around 1.38 crore total votes polled in 2014 assembly elections, 2.35 lakh votes were polled for NOTA i.e. 1.7% of the total. The total number of votes polled in 2019 assembly elections increased to 1.5 crores. However, the number of votes for NOTA have reduced to 2.05 lakh votes with the NOTA vote sharing falling to 1.36% of the total.
Votes for NOTA were polled across all the 81 constituencies in both the 2014 and 2019 assembly elections.
In 2014, the highest share of NOTA was 4.3% in Jagannathpur. Out of the total 1,13,318 votes polled in that constituency, NOTA polled 4,919 votes.
The same constituency polled the highest share for NOTA even in 2019. However, the share reduced to 3.6% with 4,092 votes polled for NOTA out of the total 1,13,558 votes. In 2014, NOTA was at 5th position in this constituency while in 2019, NOTA was in the 8th position. Jagannathpur is a ST reserved seat.
Fall in the share of NOTA votes in Reserved as well as General seats.
In 2014 Jharkhand Assembly elections, around 81.94 lakh votes were polled in the 44 General constituencies of which NOTA polled 97,965 votes i.e. 1.2%. Both the number of votes and the vote share for NOTA in general constituencies decreased in 2019 assembly elections with 86,615 votes of NOTA i.e. a share of 0.98% out of the total 88.83 lakhs.
In the 28 ST reserved constituencies, 43.43 lakh votes were polled in 2019 assembly elections as against 40.56 lakh votes in 2014. Of these the votes, the share of votes for NOTA was 2.29% with 92,697 votes in 2014, while in 2019, the share fell to 1.87 % with 81,345 votes.
The highest share of NOTA votes is in the SC reserved constituencies, although NOTA share in these constituencies also fell in 2019 compared to 2014. In the 9 SC reserved seats, 16.17 lakhs votes were polled in 2014 which increased to 18.22 lakh votes in 2019. However, only 37,090 votes were polled for NOTA in 2019 as against 44,377 votes in 2014. Although the share of 2.04% votes for NOTA in 2019 in the SC reserved seats is higher compared to General and ST reserved seats, it is less than the NOTA vote share in these constituencies in 2014 when it was 2.74%.
Not a single Constituency in 2019 polled more than 4% NOTA
In the 2014 assembly elections, 3 constituencies had vote share of more than 4% for NOTA. Of these two were SC reserved seats and the other is a ST reserved seat. However, none of the constituencies polled more than 4% for NOTA in the 2019 Assembly elections.
As mentioned earlier, the highest vote share for NOTA in 2019 is 3.6% in Jagannathpur constituency, which is a ST reserved seat. It has to be noted that this was also the seat with highest NOTA vote share of 4.3% in 2014.
Of the two other seats with more than 4% NOTA share in 2014, NOTA polled only 0.8% in 2019 in Simaria constituency which polled 4.1% in 2014.
The number of constituencies with less that 1% vote share for NOTA has increased in 2019 Assembly elections compared to 2014. While there were 19 such constituencies in the 2014 elections, the number has increased to 29 in 2019 with the major increase in General seats. In 25 out of 44 General seats, NOTA polled less than 1% in 2019 while it was 18 in previous assembly elections of 2014.
NOTA was in the ‘Top 5’ in 31 constituencies in 2019 Assembly elections
The best position that NOTA secured in 2019 Assembly elections is third. NOTA occupied 3rd place in the three constituencies of – Gumla, Manika and Sisai , with all the three of them being ST reserved seats. NOTA polled 3266, 4980 and 5013 i.e. 2.32%, 3.32% and 3.09% respectively in these constituencies. In all these three constituencies the margin of victory of the winning candidate is higher than the votes polled by NOTA.
NOTA votes were in the 4th position in 11 constituencies of which 5 were in General category seats, 2 in SC reserved and 4 in ST reserved seats. In 17 other constituencies, NOTA stood at 5th position. Of these, 2 are General seats, 4 SC reserved seats and 11 ST reserved seats.
Overall share of NOTA in 2019 Lok Sabha elections decreased compared to 2014
The share of NOTA votes in 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the 14 constituencies of Jharkhand was 1.5%, while it reduced to 1.26% in 2019 elections to Lok Sabha.
Of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand, 8 seats are General seats, 5 are ST reserved and only one seat is SC reserved. NOTA polled the highest share in Singhbhum constituency in 2014 with 3.4% of the total vote. The NOTA share in this constituency reduced to 2.7% in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, it is still the constituency with highest share of NOTA votes of all the 14 constituencies in Jharkhand. Singhbhum is a ST reserved constituency.
While the NOTA vote share decreased in most of the constituencies in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the five constituencies of Chatra, Giridh, Godda , Hazaribagh and Kodarma saw an increase in the NOTA share. Of these , Giridh and Kodarma have a significant share of NOTA votes. Significantly all these 5 constituencies are General seats.
4,879 votes i.e. 0.5% was polled for NOTA in Giridh, which increased to 19708 votes for NOTA in 2019 i.e. 1.78%.
Meanwhile in Kodarma, 31,164 votes were polled for NOTA in 2019 i.e. 2.57% , an increase from 6,712 votes i.e. 0.7 % in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Declining share of NOTA votes in Jharkhand similar to the trend across the nation
As observed in an earlier story of Factly, the share of NOTA votes is on a decline over the years. In a similar trend, there has been a fall in the share of NOTA votes in Jharkhand in both the Assembly elections as well as Lok Sabha elections.
However, despite the fall in the overall share, SC & ST reserved seats still poll a higher share of NOTA votes compared to that of General seats. The 2019 Jharkhand assembly elections were no exception.