Voters in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry voted relatively less for the None of the above (NOTA) option in the May 16 elections when compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the first time it was effected.
While in Tamil Nadu 5.6 lakh voters or 1.3 per cent opted for NOTA this time, over 1.07 voters (0.5 per cent) voters in Kerala chose to press the NOTA button on the EVM. Puducherry recorded a NOTA vote share of 1.7%.
The vote share for NOTA in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was 1.4 per cent, 0.9 per cent, and 3 per cent respectively.
Interestingly, contrary to the two southern states and UT Puducherry, both Assam and West Bengal saw a rise in NOTA votes when compared to 2014 general elections.
In the other states which went for polls, 1.5% voters in West Bengal exercised the option followed by Assam which recorded a 1.1 % of NOTA votes.
In the Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal and Assam registered NOTA votes of 1.1% and 1% respectively.
This comes after the Election Commission prior to these elections introduced a symbol for NOTA in March.
The symbol, designed by the Ahmedabad National Institute of Design, will appear on the last panel on the EVMs.
The NOTA button was introduced by the Election Commission the first time in October 2013, under the direction of the Supreme Court giving the voters an option of rejecting the candidates by the electorate ahead of the assembly elections in Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
However, Supreme Court had, recently refused to direct the Election Commission to hold fresh polls if the majority of the electorate exercised the NOTA option in a constituency.
Prior to the apex court order, those not inclined to vote for any candidate had the option of filling what is popularly called form 49-O. But filling the form at the polling station under Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, compromised the secrecy of the voter.
(with inputs from PTI)