NOTA (none of the above), a ballot option that enables voters to officially register their votes of rejection for all candidates in the fray, performed better than 159 candidates out of total 229 contested from 14 parliamentary constituencies in Jharkhand.
State’s 14 Lok Sabha seats saw a total of 1,49,62,473 votes polled in four phase polls, of which 1,89,367 votes went to NOTA option which amounts to around 1.27% vote share. Interestingly, none of the candidate, excluding the winners and runners-up, could defeat NOTA in four parliamentary constituencies viz Singhbhum, Khunti, Giridih and Godda.
The votes exercised in favour of NOTA was even more than the victory margin in two tribal dominated parliamentary constituencies of Khunti and Lohardaga, which could have turned around the election results, a political observer said.
In Khunti, where BJP’s Arjun Munda defeated Congress’ Kali Charan Munda by 1445 votes in a thrilling contest , saw a total 21,245 votes went to NOTA option.
As many as 11 candidates contested the polls from the seat but nine candidates lost to NOTA.
Similarly, Congress candidate Sukhdeo Bhagat lost to BJP’s sitting MP Sudarshan Bhagat by 10,636 votes in Lohardaga where 10,783 voters pressed NOTA option.
Koderma registered the highest NOTA votes where 31,164 voters rejected all candidates contesting the polls. Altogether, 14 candidates were in fray from the seat, 11 of them lost to NOTA.
BJP had fielded former Jharkhand RJD president Annapurna Devi on the seat, dropping its sitting MP Ravindra Rai.
Devi, however, defeated Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) chief Babulal Marandi by huge margin of 4,55,600 votes.
The second highest NOTA votes were recorded in Singhbhum where 24,270 voters rejected all nine candidates in the fray. Interestingly, NOTA performed better than seven candidates in the constituency.
Congress’ Geeta Koda defeated BJP state president Laxman Gilua from the seat by 72,155 votes.
Dhanbad recorded the lowest 4,346 NOTA votes, while Ranchi the second lowest of 4,381 NOTA votes.
In Dhanbad, BJP’s PN Singh was locked in a directed fight with Congress’ Kirti Azad. Singh defeated Azad by 4,86,194 votes. Similarly, BJP’s new face Sanjay Seth defeated Congress Subodhkant Sahay by 2,83,026 votes.
“Common people generally vote for stable government and strong leadership. This was visible even in this election. Even if people voted for in NOTA in large number in some constituencies, it means they really did not like any candidate in fray from their constituencies,” said LK Kundan, associate professor of political science department at Ranchi University.
May 25, 2019 10:33 IST
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