Only a few opted for the NOTA button while voting for the assembly polls in four states and a Union territory, counting for which was held on Sunday (April 2).
As per Election Commission data, a total of 1,54,399 or (1.22 per cent) of the total voters exercised the option in Assam. In Kerala, 91,715 or 0.5 per cent of the electors used the NOTA option, while in Puducherry 1.30 per cent or 9,006 of the total people who voted used the option. In Tamil Nadu, 0.78 per cent or 1,84,604 of the total voters pressed the NOTA button. In West Bengal, 5,23,001 voters (1.1 per cent) exercised the NOTA option.
The NOTA option is placed at the end of the electronic voting machine (EVM) after the names of the contesting candidates. It was introduced in 2013 on the directions of the Supreme Court and is identified by the symbol of a ballot paper with a black cross across it. After the Supreme Court order in September, 2013, EC added the NOTA button on the EVMs as the last option on the voting panel.
Before the Supreme Court’s order, those who didn’t want to vote for any of the contesting candidates were required to fill the form 49-O. But filling the form at the polling station under Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, compromised the secrecy of the voter. The Supreme Court had, however, refused to direct the Election Commission to hold fresh polls if the majority of the electorate exercises the NOTA option while voting.
(With inputs from agencies)