Nearly 5.83 lakh voters chose to refuse all the candidates in the fray from 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh with maximum number of such None of The Above (NOTA) votes recorded in Naxal-affected Robertsganj constituency. Maximum use of NOTA was recorded in rural areas marked by backwardness and lack of development.
In Robertsganj LS seat under Sonbhadra district, 18,489 voters opted for NOTA, placing it sixth in terms of votes garnered. The district falls in extremely backward region where 60 per cent areas are hilly while the remaining 40 per cent is rural.
Ironically, such a large number of voters walked long distances to queue up at booths to reject all the 14 candidates in fray.
The Election Commission had provided a shorter polling time here compared to other constituencies.
BJP’s Chhotelal, who won by defeating SP’s sitting MP Pakaurilal Kol, said, “Literacy is very low here.
Those who opted for NOTA were either unaware or because they were unhappy with the sitting MP.”
In Kaushambi, another rural backward constituency, 15,155 voters rejected all 11 candidates including BJP’s Vinod Kumar Sonkar who eventually won. Another 14,587 voters opted for NOTA in Shrawasti that falls in Buddhist Circuit and the demands development. Dilapidated roads and barren land mark the rural constituency.
Jhansi, Jalaun, Banda and Hamirpur constituencies of development starved Bundelkhand region too recorded high polling on NOTA.
In Jhansi, that was constituency of Union Minister Pradeep Jain Aditya, 13,959 voters rejected all 15 candidates. Likewise, 13,824 voters in Banda and 10,921 in Jalaun preferred NOTA option. In Hamirpur, 10,449 voters opted for NOTA. A total of 11,607 pressed the NOTA option in Fatehpur.
In Bahraich, 13,498 voters preferred NOTA even as sitting MP and Congress candidate Kamal Kishore could garner only 24,421 votes.
A total of 12,405 voters rejected all 15 candidates in Deoria where Congress candidate got only 37,752 votes. Both Bahraich and Deoria are extremely backward districts.
In Kaiserganj, that holds a demography similar to Bahraich, 11,853 voters preferred NOTA. In reserved seat of Bansgaon, 13,495 voters pressed NOTA.
In the sugarcane farming belt of Sitapur, Kheri, Pilibhit, Aonla, Shahjahanpur, Mishrikh and Dhaurahra, 12,682, 12,031, 11,521, 9,964, 9,633 and 8,139, voters opted for NOTA, respectively.
Union Minister Jitin Prasad lost the election from Dhaurahra while senior BJP leader Maneka Gandhi won from Pilibhit.
Among other constituencies, 11,537 voters opted for NOTA in communally sensitive Faizabad where Congress state president Nirmal Khatri and SP’s sitting MLA Mitrasen Yadav lost the election.
In the rural constituency of Basti, 10,168 voters opted NOTA.
In Kushi Nagar, NOTA option was used by 10,102 placing it on fifth position. Union Minister R P N Singh contested and lost from this seat.
Amother other constituencies, 9,098 votes went to NOTA in Phulpur, 8,966 in Bhadohi, 8,726 in Barabanki, 8,448 in Macchlishahr, 8,153 in Gorakhpur, 7,988 in Gonda, 7,779 in Amroha, 7,422 in Ambedkar Nagar, 7,660 in Hardoi and 6,670 in Ballia.
All these constituencies, excluding Gorakhpur, are extremely backward. In Kannauj, where Dimple Yadav, wife of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, was elected unopposed in 2012 by-election, 7,380 voters pushed NOTA. Dimple won by a margin of around 20,000 votes.
In the constituencies of high-profile candidates, 5,660 opted NOTA in Azamgarh, 3,911 in Baghpat, 6,737 in Bareilly, 6,775 in Domariyaganj, 1,986 in Farrukhabad, 4,654 in Firozabad, 6,205 in Ghaziabad, 2,278 in Kanpur, 4,596 in Lucknow, 6,323 in Mainpuri, 1,953 in Mathura, 5,213 in Meerut, 1,784 in Amethi, 5,409 in Rae Bareli and 5,412 in Sultanpur.
In most of these seats, candidates of AAP, Peace Party, Janata Dal (U), All India Trinamool Congress get votes less votes than those polled by NOTA.