Bhubaneswar, Aug 23 (LocalWire) The undivided Koraput district in the State accounted for highest percentage of votes for NOTA in 2019 assembly polls with votes’ polled in this category either exceeding or reaching close to the margin of victory in as many as five constituencies.

If the report released on Friday by the Odisha Election Watch (OEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has any indication, the none-of-the-above option polling, instated by the Election Commission of India in 2013 has given the voters an option of rejecting all the candidates was more pronounced in comparatively backward pockets of undivided Koraput district then the rest of the State.

More NOTA polling in these economically backward regions brings home the point that a vibrant democracy has taken in these areas.

It could only be inferred as an act of outright rejection of candidates in the fray.

It is indicative of the fact that voters have become politically matured in these parts.

It will be wrong to conclude that ignorance drove them to press NOTA button found on the last panel on all electronic voting machines.

It augurs well of democracy, commented Ranjan Mohanty, State Coordinator, Odisha Election Watch.

Of 2,34,17,695 votes polled in 2019 Odisha Assembly Election, 2,44,974 (1.05%) were polled for NOTA, registering marginal decline than 2014 assembly polls. 2,71,336 (1.3%) votes were polled for NOTA in 2014 polls, according to OEW-ADR report.

The breakup of highest percentage of NOTA votes polled in assembly constituencies, according to the report, is Lakshmipur- 7,026- 5.29%, Rayagada-5,965- 3.41%, Pottangi-5,715, 3.92%, Jharigam- 5,689, 3.26%, Bissam Cuttack-5,434, 3.14%, Gunupur 4,671 3.15%, Telkoi- 4,297, 2.43%, Umerkote- 4,181, 2.73%, Chitrakonda- 4,158 3.22%, Nabarangpur-3,938, 2.10%.

All these assembly constituencies excepting Telkoi (which comes under Keonjhar district) incidentally falls under the administrative jurisdiction of erstwhile Koraput district.

NOTA played a decisive role in deciding the final outcome in at least two constituencies with more NOTA votes polled than the victory margin.

In Lakshmipur seat, the contest had gone down the wire with the margin of victory being slender 229 votes while Nota polled 7,026 votes.

Gunupur seat had witnessed nail-biting finish with the NOTA exceeding the margin of victory of winning candidate.

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