NOTA – The Kingmaker in Chhattisgarh

The Poll-Bugle has been sounded for the elections of five states. Chhattisgarh will vote in two phases. 18 constituencies will vote on November 12 and 72 constituencies will vote on November 20.

In 2013, NOTA was introduced through the Supreme Court’s judgment dated 27th September 2013 in WP(C) No. 161 of 2004,( People’s Union for Civil Liberties and another Vs. the Union of India and another).

Chhattisgarh saw a close contest in 2013 elections with BJP just able to defeat Congress. In fact, the winning margin was only 0.7% . The percentage of votes received by NOTA was 3.07%. In all the elections held till now , this is still the highest vote percentage for NOTA.

In this article, we try to find the impact of NOTA in 2013 election and also try to gauge its possible effect in 2018 election.

In 2013, there were 42 seats where the NOTA polled more than 4500 votes. On more than 1/3rd of seats , NOTA secured third highest vote.

In 15 seats, the winning margin was less than the NOTA votes. Out of these, there were 5 ST seats and one SC seat. In fact, overall NOTA polled more votes in ST constituencies than General constituencies. It polled 4.75% votes in ST constituencies and only 2.38% in General constituencies.

Also, if we add NOTA votes to votes polled by different political party, we get the following results:-

However, one thing that is to be noted is that in 2013, Maosists had asked the voters to vote for NOTA, if at all they voted. These voters will be crucial for the political parties in the coming election, as a swing in either direction could determine the difference between the final winner and the second best.

One other thing to be noted is that there will be 1.2 lakh new voters in this election. According to the paper, ‘ “None of the Above”, votes in India and the consumption utility of voting’ University of Houston by G Ujhelyi, S Chatterjee, A Szabo, new voters are more inclined to vote for NOTA.

Therefore, we can conclude that NOTA played a crucial role in 2013 elections and will be a dominant factor in this election as well. If any party is able to convince a sizeable number of previous NOTA voters to their side, they could infact win the race to Raipur.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi.

The Author, Ankush Kumar Mishra, is an MS Scholar in Aerospace Engineering Department at IIT Madras and is an Political Enthusiast.