By Ashutosh Joshi
As Indian equity markets cheer the ruling partyís 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 Modiís home state. Thatís higher than the shares of five of seven parties contesting the poll.
The so-called NOTA — the†lowest button†on Indiaís 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.
The use of NOTA in Gujarat accompanies the main opposition partyís strongest showing in more than two decades, having tapped into discontent against Modiís 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.
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