In the Assembly election results earlier this month, the NOTA (None of the Above) vote has been the focus of attention at 2% in Chhattisgarh, 1.4% in Madhya Pradesh and 1.3% in Rajasthan. In the latter two states, the NOTA vote exceeds the difference between the vote shares of the Congress and the BJP. This analysis shows that the NOTA vote count was much higher in reserved seats than in general ones.
Madhya Pradesh: The 230 seats include 47 reserved for STs and 35 for SCs. On an average, 4,365 NOTA votes were polled per ST seat and 2,321 per SC seat — much higher than the average NOTA count of 1,729 in general seats. Of the ST seats, 16 polled more than 5,000 NOTA votes, topped by Bhainsdehi with 7,948. Seven of the SC seats, and only 10 of the 148 general seats, polled over 3,000 NOTA votes. In Bhopal South-West, where a majority of government officials vote, the NOTA count was 1,128.
Rajasthan: Voting was held in 199 seats, including 25 reserved for ST and 34 for SC. The NOTA average was 4,125 votes in ST seats and 2,665 in SC seats, much higher than the 1,957 in general seats. Of the 25 ST seats, 16 polled over 3,000 NOTA votes, with Kushalgarh counting the highest at 11,002. Eleven of the 34 SC seats, and only 25 of the 140 general seats, exceeded a NOTA count of 3,000. In Malviya Nagar constituency of Jaipur, where most government officials posted in the capital have their vote, the NOTA count was 2,371.
Chhattisgarh: Out of 90 seats, 29 are reserved for STs and 10 for SCs. The NOTA average was 5,053 votes in ST seats, 2,755 in SC seats and 2,131 in general seats. No ST seat polled less than 2,000 NOTA votes. Taking 3,000 votes as the benchmark, this was exceeded in 27 of the 29 ST seats, as opposed to 5 of the 10 SC seats, and only 12 of the 51 general seats. In Raipur North seat, home to many state government officials, the NOTA count was just 705.
CM seats: In the seats of the outgoing Chief Ministers, the NOTA counts were 1,764 in Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Budhni (MP), 3,125 in Vasundhara Raje’s Jhalrapatan (Rajasthan) and 1,501 in Raman Singh’s Rajnandgaon (Chhattisgarh).