Since the nomination form of its candidate, Rajul Patel, was rejected, the party has asked its supporters to pick the None Of The Above option to prevent their votes from being cast in favour of MNS and BJP
The increased voter turnout during the recent Lok Sabha saw a corresponding rise in the use of the None Of The Above (NOTA) option. And, it seems NOTA is only going to rise in the popularity sweepstakes during the upcoming Assembly polls.
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While the NOTA option does not have an impact on electoral results, it acts as a tool for voters to voice the opinion that none of the candidates in the fray are fit to be elected. Capitalising on this, the Shiv Sena, whose Versova candidate Rajul Patel is no longer in the fray after her nomination form was rejected, has asked its supporters in the constituency to use the NOTA option.
mid-day had reported on October 1 (‘Shiv Sena joins hands with MNS in Versova to teach BJP a lesson’) about the Sena and MNS joining forces in Versova against BJP candidate Dr Bharati Lavekar, but sources in the Sena told this newspaper that the deal has fallen through.
“We have asked our supporters in Versova to choose the NOTA option to prevent their votes from going in favour of Lavekar or MNS candidate Manish Dhuri.
Some supporters are also upset that Yashodhar Phanse was not given the ticket instead of Patel and they will probably choose the NOTA option anyway. This will ensure that whoever wins does so with fewer votes in their kitty and smaller margins,” said a Sena leader.
A resident of Versova, who is a Sena follower, said, “We have been told to vote NOTA as we don’t have our party candidate contesting in the constituency. We want to be faithful to the party and we won’t go against the orders.”
The Lok Sabha elections saw a huge number of voters choosing NOTA. The city and suburbs saw more than 8,000 NOTA votes being polled in every Lok Sabha constituency and Thane led the pack with 13,000.
With confusion caused by five major candidates in the fray in nearly every Assembly constituency, and neck-to-neck competition, NOTA votes will be an upsetting factor on October 15.
Residents’ associations, who have been encouraging people to vote, have also been educating them on NOTA.
A senior politician from Versova said, “There were issues with NOTA during the Lok Sabha polls and we assume that it will be a spoiler for many in the Assembly polls as well. With Sena’s move, MNS’ chances in the constituency will decrease. Even in the other constituencies, people may prefer NOTA to electing candidates who have criminal records and haven’t studied beyond Std X.”