Of the 1,22,50,211 voters in the state who exercised the franchise in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, 2,24,889 - 1.8 percent -  opted for NOTA. In Surguja, Raigarh, Rajnandgaon, Bastar and Kanker number of NOTA votes stood third.
    
In Surguja, a constituency reserved for scheduled tribes (ST), the winning candidate Kamabhan Singh Marawi of BJP bagged 5,85,336 votes, followed by Congress's Ram Dev Ram who got 4,38,100 votes, while 31,104 voters opted for NOTA.
    
In Raigarh, BJP's Vishnudeo Sai got 6,62,478 votes, followed by Congress's Aarti Singh with 4,45,728 votes and 28,480 votes for NOTA.
    
In Naxal-affected Rajnandgaon, Chief Minister Raman Singh's son Abhishek Singh emerged winner with 6,43,473 votes followed by Congress's Kamleshwar Verma with 4,07,562 votes and 32,384 votes went to NOTA.
    
In Bastar, a hotbed of Naxal activities, 38,772 votes went to NOTA, while BJP's Dinesh Kashyap won with 3,85,829 votes and Deepak Karma of Congress stood second with 2,61,470 votes.
    
In Kanker, another Naxal-affected constituency, BJP's Vikram Usendi bagged 4,65,215 votes, followed by Congress's Phulo Devi Netam (4,30,057) while NOTA got 31,917 votes.
    
In Janjgir-Champa, number of NOTA votes stood fourth.
    
Ramesh Nayyar, a veteran journalist, said this showed people's anger with the political parties. He also said that growing awareness about lack of good governance led to NOTA catching voters' fancy.
    
Main opposition Congress alleged that EVMs were placed in a wrong way, which confused the voters. "NOTA was chosen more in the remote areas where there is more illiteracy," said Congress's Shailesh Nitin Trivedi.
    
While state BJP's spokesperson Shivratan Sharma said votes for NOTA indicated resentment about the candidates and not about the political parties.

(Agencies)

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