By Subrat Das*
Bhubaneswar: You can vote for your choice candidate. None of the above (NOTA)- this choice is also given to voters. Though this category of choice is not so popular, the apathy among the tribals of Odisha towards the existing candidates was more visible during 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
As revealed from the results of 2014 Lok Sabha elections, maximum number (44, 408) of voters of tribal-dominated Nabarangpur parliamentary constituency had pressed NOTA button in the electronic voting machine. Among these NOTA votes, three were exercised through postal votes. Usually, educated government employees who are otherwise busy in election duty, cast their vote through postal ballot.
Koraput Lok Sabha constituency was next to Nabarangpur in getting maximum NOTA votes (33,222). Among these votes, were included 10 postal ballots.
Kalahandi Lok Sabha constituency, another backward and tribal-dominated region, had not lagged behind much in this respect. As many as 20, 880 voters had exercised NOTA votes.
Other constituencies in respect of high NOTA votes were: Keonjhar (26, 065), Mayurbhanj (23, 517), Balangir (21, 043), Sundargarh (15, 835), Aska (15, 382), Bargarh (14, 500), Kandhamal (14, 159), Sambalpur (13, 314), Dhenkanal (13, 205) and Berhampur (12, 706).
On the other hand, coastal Odisha constituencies got lesser NOTA votes-Bhadrak (6750), Kendrapara (7610), Jagatsinghpur (7624), Balasore (7710), Bhubaneswar (8140), Jajpur (8655), Cuttack (8889) and Puri (9190).
Though, comparatively higher number of NOTA votes had been cast in tribal-dominated areas, it was not clear as to whether the voters were disillusioned with the existing candidates or they had pressed the NOTA button by mistake, as opined by experts associated with the voting system.
Another pertinent question- how many of them were interested to voluntarily come to polling booths to exercise their franchise?
The writer is a journalist currently working with Sambad Group as Consultant Editor of Group Digital Edition.