As many as 4.8 lakh voters in Maharashtra chose the ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option on the electronic voting machines. This is a marginal increase from the 4.2 lakh voters who had opted for the option in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when it was introduced for the first time in a parliamentary election.
At 29,479, the maximum number of protest votes were cast in Palghar district, which had registered 21,000 NOTA votes in the last general elections. The NOTA votes, which constituted 2.45 per cent of the total votes in the constituency, came third in terms of the highest number of votes, more than the candidate of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi and other independents. The constituency saw a contest between Shiv Sena’s Rajendra Gavit, who received 5.8 lakh votes, and Baliram Jadhav of the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, who got 4.91 votes.
The Naxal-affected Gadchiroli-Chimur seat saw 24,493 people opting for NOTA, the second highest in the state. During the 2014 polls, the constituency had witnessed a similar figure with 24,479 NOTA votes, which was the highest in the state then. Other constituencies with high NOTA votes include Nandurbar at 21,925 and Thane at 20,032.
An activist working in Palghar said contesting unfamiliar candidates by the non-BJP alliances was one of the reasons why so many people opted for NOTA option.
Meanwhile, Beed and Dhule saw the minimum NOTA votes in the state at 2,500 and 2,475 votes, respectively. Among the six seats in Mumbai, the Mumbai North West constituency, where Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar beat Congress’s Sanjay Nirupam, saw the maximum number of NOTA votes at 17,701.