Mangaluru, Feb 24, 2016: The highest number of Nota votes were cast in Ujire constituency in Belthangady constituency with 1,034 voters opting for it. Incidentally, the winning margin in this constituency that saw a direct contest between Namitha K of the Congress and Manjula Umesh of the BJP was 188, a seat that Congress won.
Voters in Uppinangady constituency were the second highest users of Nota with 789 Nota votes cast in this constituency where the BJP won by margin of 2725 votes.
Strangely, Naravi constituency in Belthangady constituency that saw former zilla panchayat vice president Dharanendra Kumar contest from the Congress in a direct contest against Jayantha Poojary of the BJP saw zero Nota votes recorded.
Dharanendra won this battle by a margin of 452 votes. Incidentally, during the general elections held in May 2014, voters in this district had cast 7,800 Nota votes and the numbers this time in ZP polls is almost double that.
The focus of Nota votes gained credence after activists of Sahyadri Sanchaya, urged voters to exercise Nota option to register protest of voters against the controversial and ecologically damaging Yettinahole project. They had campaigned for the same in Belthangady, Puttur and Bantwal taluks. The campaign was mainly in Ujire, Kakkinje, Mandantyar, Punjalkatte, Nelyadi, B C Road and Uppinangady areas of the district just two days before the election.
Out of the total 7,34,575 votes in 36 zilla panchayat constituencies in Dakshina Kannada, 14,243 voters used NOTA, which amounts to 1.94 per cent of the total votes, signifying that the voters are very well aware of this provision made available to them by the Election Commission.