In Uttar Pradesh, the introduction of the NOTA (None of the Above) option in 2013 has made a notable impact on electoral dynamics, particularly evident in the analysis of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In a striking revelation, a total of 58 Lok Sabha constituencies recorded more NOTA votes than those cast for independent candidates and smaller parties. This trend underscores the increasing significance of NOTA as a channel for voters to express dissatisfaction with the available choices.

However, the situation varied in 22 Lok Sabha seats, primarily in central and eastern UP, where independents and smaller parties garnered more votes than NOTA. This highlights the diverse electoral landscape shaped by regional factors and candidate profiles.

Former Additional Solicitor General of India, Ashok Nigam, hailed the trend of voters choosing NOTA as a democratic expression of discontent, signaling a demand for better alternatives and greater political accountability.

Professor Ravi Ranjan from Delhi University echoed these sentiments, emphasizing that a higher number of NOTA votes reflects voter discontent and calls for the Election Commission to address and improve electoral processes. Ranjan also lauded UP for its lower NOTA percentage compared to Bihar.

In the 2019 elections, NOTA votes surpassed the victory margin in three UP seats: Meerut, Machhlishahr, and Shravasti. In Meerut, NOTA polled 6,316 votes against a victory margin of 4,729. Similarly, Machhlishahr saw 10,830 NOTA votes with a narrow victory margin of 181.

In Shravasti, despite a victory margin of 5,320 votes, NOTA garnered 17,108 votes. Moreover, Robertsganj recorded the highest number of NOTA votes at 21,118, indicating significant voter dissatisfaction with the available options.

Overall, NOTA accounted for 0.84% of the total votes polled in UP, underscoring its growing significance in the electoral process and its impact on shaping political discourse in the state.


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