More than seven lakh voters in Bihar used the ‘none of the above’ or NOTA option in the assembly elections, reported PTI, quoting the Election Commission.

Over 4 crore votes were polled in the three-phase Bihar elections. Out of almost 7.3 crore voters, 57.09% had cast votes in the polls. Figures released by the EC says that a total of 7,06,252 people or 1.7% of the voters opted for the option and preferred not to vote for any candidate while exercising their democratic right.

Also read: Bihar 2020, yet another chapter in Congress’s decline story

With a slender majority, Nitish Kumar-led NDA was back in power on Wednesday. They won 125 seats in the 243-member state assembly against 110 clinched by the opposition Grand Alliance to pave the way for a fourth successive term for Kumar in office.

Also read: Bihar verdict a boost for Modi with a warning: Non-Congress opposition is back

The symbol for the NOTA option on electronic voting machines, which was introduced in 2013, is a ballot paper with a black cross across it.

Following the Supreme Court order in September, 2013, the EC added the NOTA button on the EVMs as the last option on the voting panel. Before this, voters who were not inclined to vote for any candidate had the option of filling, what is popularly called, ‘form 49-O’.

However,  filling the form at the polling station under Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, compromised the secrecy of the voter.

The Supreme Court refused to direct the EC to hold fresh polls if the majority of the electorate exercises the NOTA option while voting. Many seats in Bihar got more NOTA votes than the winning margin of candidates.