New Delhi, Aug 21 | Amid alliance talks in Bihar with the RJD and other like minded parties, the Congress is focusing on voters who pressed NOTA during the assembly elections in 2015.
The party is in talks to identify pockets where NOTA was pressed as an option. Congress in-charge of Bihar Shakti Singh Gohil said that “you have to see the pattern of the last election. On one side was Nitish Kumar and on the other was the BJP, this time both are on the same side, so it means those who preferred NOTA don’t want to vote for the BJP and Nitish.”
Gohil underlined that in the 2015 elections the Congress, the RJD and the JD-U fought in an alliance but this time the JD-U is with the BJP. The JD-U has not honoured the mandate given by the people.
The Grand Alliance of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress had swept the state bagging 178 of the 243 seats, leaving the BJP and its allies with just 58 seats.
The alliance in Bihar though faced a setback with Jitan Ram Manjhi siding with the NDA, but now the Grand Alliance is gearing up for the polls which could be announced anytime.
The Congress thinks that if the party has to defeat the NDA in the state this chunk of NOTA voters can help it to take the initial lead in the state elections.
The Congress is devising a strategy to appeal to such voters and is identifying pockets where a large number of people opted for NOTA.
Youth Congress workers have also pitched in to get these voters on board. Indian Youth Congress secretary Amrish Ranjan Pandey said that “we are trying to reach out to people through Social means ,helping the people during the Covid pandemic and the floods and also raising people’s issues.”
The Grand Alliance hopes to benefit as Nitish Kumar has been Chief Minister for almost 15 years now, barring a brief period when Jitan Ram Manjhi was made Chief Minister. The Congress thinks that apart from the anti-incumbency factor, it will gain because of the mishandling of the pandemic and the floods in the state.
Around 9.5 lakh voters in Bihar chose not to vote for any candidate in the assembly elections and pressed the “None of the Above” (NOTA) button on the electronic voting machines.
According to statistics released by the Election Commission after the results, a total of 9,47,276 voters chose NOTA — 2.5 percent of the total votes polled.