New Delhi, May 19 : The None of the Above (NOTA) option, like previous polls, had few takers in the assembly elections to West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry. Percentage-wise, voters in Puducherry, where Congress-DMK alliance wrested power from AINRC, used the NOTA option the most as compared to the rest of the four states.Also Read - Job Advertisement For 'Hindus Only' in Tamil Nadu College Creates Uproar
According to data collated by the Election Commission till this evening, 1.7 per cent of the total voters (13,240) in Puducherry exercised the option followed by 1.5 per cent in West Bengal where Trinamool Congress has returned to power for a second consecutive term. In West Bengal, 8,31,836 voters pressed the NOTA button placed as the last option on EVMs. Also Read - Viral Video: Outrage After Tamil Nadu Teacher Mercilessly Kicks Student, Beats Him For Skipping Class | Watch
In Tamil Nadu, where J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK retained power bucking nearly three-decade-old trend, 5,57,888 voters (1.3 per cent) exercised the option. 1,88,978 voters in Assam, where BJP and allies wrested power from Congress, used the option. Percentage-wise, it comes to 1.1 per cent of the total voters who exercised their franchise. In Kerala, where UDF lost out to LDF, the NOTA users stood at 1,07,106 or 0.5 per cent of the total votes polled. (ALSO READ: Assembly Election 2016 Results: BJP shines in Assam, makes inroads in Kerala, West Bengal – Is ‘NaMo’ still a factor?) Also Read - Kerala Rains: Death Toll Rises to 23; PM Modi Discusses Situation With CM Vijayan | 10 Points
After the Supreme Court order in September, 2013, the EC had added the NOTA button on the EVMs as the last option on the voting panel. NOTA was exercised by nearly 60 lakh people in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Prior to the apex court order, those not inclined to vote for any candidate had the option of filling what is popularly called 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. Supreme Court had, recently refused to direct the Election Commission to hold fresh polls if the majority of the electorate exercised the NOTA option in a constituency. In September last, NOTA was its own symbol — a ballot paper with a black cross across it.