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''None Of The Above' option will prove pollsters wrong'
Saturday December 7, 2013 11:04 PM, Hena Farhat,

Even as India braces for counting of votes and final results of the five states that went to the polls in last ten days, a political analyst Saturday raised serious questions over the predictions made in the exit-polls by the pollsters, each one involving one-or-the other electronic channel, saying the newly introduced 'NOTA' option will prove them wrong.

"An increase in voting percentage is generally credited to anti incumbency factor and regarded as voters' anger against the ruling parties. However, in the recently concluded elections in five states, the introduction of 'None of the above' option played a key role in driving people to cast their votes in large number", Kausar Fatima, a political analyst and a lecturer of politics in a local college, said while talking to

"The pollsters who came out with their predictions have possibly missed this fact as the feedbacks that are emerging on the voting pattern and the use of NOTA option by an unexpectedly large number of people have made predictions very difficult", she said.

Few months before the elections in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram, and civic elections at some places, the Election Commission of India had decided to introduce "None of the above" as one of the option in the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).
The NOTA option was introduced after a strong demand by the civil society.

Voters in Chattisgarh's Maoist-affected areas were the first to use this option followed by the people who exercised their votes in the local bodies' election in some North Maharashtra districts.

Though counting of votes in Chattisagarh will be held along with other states on Sunday, the results of the local bodies' election in Maharashtra are declared, and the statistics give credence to what Kausar Fatima is suggesting.

Local media reports based on analysis made after the results agreed that NOTA did had impact on the polling percentage and also on the results.

According to one report, more than 38,000 people used the NOTA option in Dhule Zillah Parishad election. The figure is more than 2.6% of the total polled votes.

The reports also said that it is not a small number especially when victory-margin at many places was very low.

There are also others who countered the exit polls.

"At sharp 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, half-hour after the official deadline of voting, at least four pollsters, in collaboration with their partner news channels, started beaming their respective exit polls.

"The simple assumption therefore is that the sampling teams were "conducting" the said polls well before 5:30 p.m. -- or, perhaps, through the day", news agency IANS observed.

"But even while exit pollsters and their commissioning broadcasters were blaring their numbers, polling was still going on in many booths in Delhi well past 8 p.m", IANS said.

There are also some other who feel that the exit polls are politically motivated.

"The electronic channels ever since Narendra Modi has been named by BJP as its prime ministerial candidate, are predicting a huge victory for the party under the leadership of the most controversial person of the country. The exit polls are nothing more than an attempt by the electronic channels who are accused of being funded to promote Modi to justify their unholy campaign", Nilesh Sahi, a Mumbai based commentator said.


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