Raipur: It was Chhattisgarh that polled perhaps the largest number of `none of the above` (NOTA) votes to reject all candidates in recently concluded Assembly elections.
Interestingly, the concentration of NOTA votes was in the naxal-affected Bastar region where the ruling BJP suffered a setback at the hands of Congress. The region contributed substantially in BJP`s victories in 2003 and 2008.
In total, around 401058 votes were polled under NOTA, which comprised 3.15 per cent of total valid votes cast in all 90 constituencies.
Chitrakot-ST seat witnessed highest votes in NOTA at 10,848 votes, followed by 9677 in Dantewada-ST, Keshkal (8381) and Bijapur (7179).
Some other constituencies of Bastar which witnessed considerable NOTA votes are Narayanpur (6731), Kondagaon (6773), Konta (4001) and Bastar (5529), according to the data furnished by the state election commission.
Incumbent sports minister Lata Usendi lost from Kondagaon seat to Congress` Mohan Markam by a margin of 5135 votes.
According to an Intelligence Bureau (IB) official, Maoists may have persuaded voters to exercise NOTA option in Bastar region.
However, ADG (Naxal Operations) RK Vij denied of any inputs of Maoists directing people in tribal areas to opt for NOTA.
Before the elections, there were reports that naxals were trying to scare away people from electoral process. However, voters turned out in large numbers due to unprecedented security arrangements in place.
A significant 75 % voting was recorded in first phase of polling covering 18 seats of south Chhattisgarh even after a boycott call by naxals.
In tribal areas of Sarguja in North Chhattisgarh, an
average 5000 votes were cast under NOTA in all the eight constituencies, while in three constituencies of tribal Jashpur, the NOTA votes ranged from 4000 to 5500.
In Marwahi-ST constituency, from where former chief minister Ajit Jogi`s son Amit Jogi was in the fray, 7115 voters were cast under NOTA.
In four constituencies of?Raipur, 10428 votes polled under NOTA.
The NOTA was introduced for the first time following the Supreme Court guidelines.
In Delhi, NOTA votes comprised over 0.6 per cent of total votes, and 1.92 per cent in Rajasthan.
Results for four out of five states that went to polls recently, viz Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Rajasthan were announced yesterday.