Though there was a buzz & calls to choose NOTA before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the vote share for NOTA hasn’t increased and in fact, the vote share for NOTA in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is less than what NOTA polled in 2014.
As noted in an earlier storyby 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 43 elections (41 Assembly & two Lok Sabha) held since the introduction of NOTA on the EVM, the vote-share of NOTA crossed 2% only twice.
NOTA vote share decreases further in 2019
NOTA option was part of the election for every State Assembly & the Lok Sabha at least once. The highest ever vote share for NOTA (more than 2%) was in the elections held in the year 2015 when a dedicated symbol was introduced for NOTA. Ever since, the 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 when four states went to the assembly polls together with the Lok Sabha polls.
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 is a vote share of 1.1%. In 2019, NOTA polled 65.14 lakh votes compared to the total valid votes of 60.96 crores. The vote share of NOTA in 2019 has come down to 1.07% compared to 1.1% in 2014.
NOTA vote share hasn’t crossed 2% after 2015
Out of the 43 elections (Assembly & Lok Sabha) held since the introduction of NOTA, the vote-share of NOTA did not cross 1% in 18 of the elections and was between 1% and 2% in 23 elections. In other words, the NOTA vote share was less than 2% in 95% of the elections. It was more than 3% in only one election, in Chhattisgarh (2013) and between 2% & 3% only once in Bihar (2015).
NOTA polled more than 5% only in Gopalganj
The highest vote share for NOTA in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was recorded in the Gopalganj constituency of Bihar where NOTA polled 5.04%. Next was Bastar in Chhattisgarh where NOTA polled 4.6% of the vote. NOTA polled more than 4% in only 3 more constituencies (Paschim Champaran & Jamui in Bihar and Araku in Andhra Pradesh). The lowest vote share for NOTA was recorded in Bidar (Karnataka) where NOTA polled 0.174%. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, NOTA vote share was around 5% in two constituencies (Bastar in Chhattisgarh & Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu). Being a ‘maoist’ affected territory, Bastar often records a large number of votes for NOTA.
NOTA exceeded the margin of victory in 26 constituencies
The only area where NOTA did better than 2014 Lok Sabha elections is the number of constituencies where NOTA exceeded the margin of victory. Compared to 23 such constituencies in 2014, there are 26 such constituencies in 2019. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, NOTA votes exceeded the margin of victory in 4 constituencies each in West Bengal & Andhra Pradesh, 3 each in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha & Telangana, 2 each in Jharkhand & Chhattisgarh and one each in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar & the lone seat in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. All in all, there is at least one such constituency in 12 of the 36 States/UTs.