The assembly general elections to Maharashtra & Haryana threw up some interesting trends related to NOTA in certain constituencies. In Latur Rural assembly constituency, NOTA polled 13.8% of the vote, the highest ever for NOTA since its introduction in 2013. It is also the first time that NOTA came in second in two different constituencies.
As noted in an earlier story by Factly, the vote share for NOTA is going down continuously since its introduction in 2013. Even the introduction of the dedicated NOTA symbol in 2015 hasn’t made any difference if one goes by the data. In a total of 45 elections (43 Assembly & two Lok Sabha) held since the introduction of NOTA on the EVM, the vote-share of NOTA crossed 2% only twice. The overall NOTA vote share in the recently held Maharashtra & Haryana assembly elections is no different. While NOTA polled only 0.5% votes in Haryana, it polled 1.4% in Maharashtra. But the interesting story of these elections, especially in Maharashtra are the exceptions. In few constituencies of Maharashtra, NOTA polled unusually high number of votes.
NOTA vote share decreases further in 2019
NOTA option was part of the election for every State Assembly & the Lok Sabha at least once. From the data, it is abundantly clear that the vote share for NOTA has been continuously decreasing. The highest ever vote share for NOTA (more than 2%) was in 2015 when a dedicated symbol was introduced for NOTA. That is also the only year when NOTA vote share crossed 2% when all the elections held in that year are considered. Ever since, the NOTA vote share has reduced. In the assembly elections held in 2018, NOTA vote share was around 1.25% and it came down to 1.18% in 2019 including the assembly elections to Maharashtra & Haryana.
Even for the Lok Sabha, NOTA polled 60.02 lakh votes across the country in 2014 compared to the total valid votes of 54.78 crore, which a vote share of 1.08%. In 2019, NOTA polled 65.13 lakh votes compared to the total valid votes of 60.65 crores. The vote share of NOTA in 2019 has come down to 1.06% compared to 1.08% in 2014.
NOTA vote share hasn’t crossed 2% after 2015
Out of the 45 elections (Assembly & Lok Sabha) held since the introduction of NOTA, the vote-share of NOTA did not cross 1% in 19 of the elections and was between 1% and 2% in 24 elections. In other words, the NOTA vote share was less than 2% in 96% of the elections held so far. It was more than 3% in only one election i.e., Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh (2013) and between 2% & 3% in Assembly elections of Bihar (2015).
Highest ever NOTA vote share recorded in Latur Rural constituency
While the overall NOTA vote share in Maharashtra & Haryana assembly elections was less than 2%, few constituencies in Maharashtra recorded unusually high number of votes for NOTA. Latur Rural constituency in Maharashtra polled 27500 for NOTA which is 13.78% of the total votes polled, the highest ever vote share for NOTA since its introduction.
NOTA polled more than 8% of the vote share on only 8 occasions so far and 3 of these are from the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections, that too the ‘General’ constituencies. The remaining five constituencies where this happened are all ‘ST’ reserved. All these 8 instances are from assembly general elections.
The highest ever vote share for NOTA in a Lok Sabha constituency was recorded in Gopalganj constituency of Bihar where NOTA polled 5.04% in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
This is also the first time that NOTA was second only to the winner. In both Latur Rural & Palus assembly constituencies of Maharashtra, NOTA stood in 2nd place after the winner.
As far as Maharashtra & Haryana are concerned, NOTA polled more than 5% of the vote in 5 of the 288 constituencies of Maharashtra while the highest NOTA vote share in Haryana is just 1.7% in Badkhal constituency.
NOTA exceeded the margin of victory in 11 constituencies of Maharashtra
Votes polled for NOTA were more than the margin of victory in 11 of the 288 constituencies of Maharashtra and only one in Haryana. In the Thanesar constituency of Haryana, the margin of victory was 842 while NOTA polled 951 votes.
In Maharashtra, votes for NOTA exceeded the margin of victory by more than 2000 votes in the constituencies of Ulhasnagar, Chandivali and Akkalkuwa.