politics

Room for Complacency Closes as More Indians Reject Their Leaders

  • Almost 2% of voters in Gujarat chose to reject all candidates
  • India faces jobs problem that may dominate national 2019 vote

As Indian equity markets cheer the ruling party’s victory in a key state, voters are sending a subtle message to their leaders.

Almost 2 percent of Gujarat voters chose the "none of the above" option, effectively rejecting candidates across the political spectrum in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state. That’s higher than the shares of five of seven parties contesting the poll.

The so-called NOTA -- the lowest button on India’s electronic voting machines after a list of candidates -- was introduced in India in 2013. It allows the citizen to exercise her democratic duty without having to opt for an undesirable candidate.

Read: Modi Set to Retain Grip on Home State After Bellwether Vote

The use of NOTA in Gujarat accompanies the main opposition party’s strongest showing in more than two decades, having tapped into discontent against Modi’s economic policies. India faces a shortage of well-paying jobs, which may well be the main election issue when Modi faces re-election in 2019.

— With assistance by Manish Modi

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