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13% vote NOTA in Latur: Voters looking for alternative, does Opposition know that?

By Anikendra Sen*
Ominous signs or is it a failure of the system? In a possible first, ‘None of The Above’ (NOTA) finished in second place in Maharashtra's Latur seat, behind Congress's Dhiraj Vilasrao Deshmukh, the younger son of former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, winning the seat for the first time with a massive 75.10% of the total vote share.
None Of The Above (NOTA) polled 13.06% of the votes, effectively defeating the Shiv Sena (4.7%) and the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (4.9%).
The ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance at that time (who knows whether they're together as of now) came off the worst and the Congress which was invisible in Maharashtra managed to win.
What does that mean? The voters are desperately scrambling around looking for an alternative that the system is increasingly failing to throw up.
In Maharashtra, an Octogenarian standing in the rain without an umbrella stalled a runaway victory for the BJP. In Haryana a has been nearly in his 80s cast aside by his party re-asserted himself and did the same. Both a few weeks ago.
The country clearly has a ruling party as of now: the BJP and more importantly Narendra Modi. What it lacks is an Opposition.
Dhiraj Vilasrao Deshmukh
Will the others apart from the BJP sit up and think? What we need clearly now is a real Opposition. If the Congress cannot do it the way it is currently structured, the rest need to decide where they belong. More importantly, the Congress needs to rethink where it belongs and how it should position itself.
As of now, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Punjab, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra, Telengana, Delhi, Pondicherry and even Bihar are either non-BJP or in the cusp. It's time the leaders there decide how to increase their influence or face decimation one by one much like the Roman empire did eons ago.
The voters are clearly looking for an alternative. Does the Opposition know that? Jharkhand is the next.
---
*Chairman, Asia-Pacific Communication Associates; former resident editor, The Times of India, Delhi. Source: Author’s Facebook timeline

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