Swadeshi Jagran Manch leader and former member of BJP’s think tank Govindacharya and his followers are openly canvassing for ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option in the Hindi heartland of UP, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
“This time, at least 100,000 voters will press the NOTA button in the Lok Sabha poll in Varanasi from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking re-election for a second term,” said Rupesh Pandey, a former activist of the Azadi Bachao Andolan who was senior BJP leader Uma Bharti’s publicity manager.
A large number of RSS activists are mobilizing people for NOTA to create public pressure on all political parties to take the electoral reforms to the logical end of providing the right to recall option to the voters, said Govindacharya.
A meeting of over 300 representatives of various social action groups from eastern UP was convened in Varanasi on March 15 where it was resolved to launch the ‘NOTA” option campaign. “The campaign was effective in all the last five phases of polling in UP, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh,” claimed Pandey.
He claimed that this time a large number of BJP supporters would use the NOTA button as they are totally disenchanted with the party’s stand on reservation, GST and demonetization. “Since they are all diehard BJP supporters, they will not vote for any other political party’s candidate,” he said.
There is also great resentment among the residents of old Varanasi city whose houses have been demolished in the process of creating ‘Vishwanath Corridor’, the PM’s pet project. The ‘Pakka Mahal’ of the old city comprising narrow lanes and centuries old houses used to be a strong bastion of the erstwhile Jan Sangh and the present BJP. “But this time, the residents of Pakka Mahal are not going to vote for BJP but opt for NOTA,” said Pandey.