The Maharashtra State Election Commission announced that fresh elections from the nomination stage itself will be held if the None Of The Above option or NOTA were to get the maximum number of votes. In an order released on Tuesday, the state election commission said none of the candidates in such a scenario will be declared elected and NOTA will be considered a “fictional electoral candidate”.

The state poll panel said the order will be applicable to polls and bye-polls to all municipal corporations, municipal councils and nagar panchayats with immediate effect.

However, if NOTA again gets the highest number of votes in re-election, the candidate with the most number of votes, excluding NOTA, will be declared the winner.

Maharashtra Election Commission Secretary Shekhar Channe said that the state may become the first to introduce this option, The Indian Express reported. Municipality elections in Dhule and Ahmednagar are scheduled for December 9 and their residents will be the first to be provided the option, he said.

The state election commission had introduced the NOTA option for elections to local bodies after the Supreme Court’s verdict in September 2013. While the top court said NOTA implementation would improve the electoral process through increased voter participation and would compel political parties to field good candidates, this has not been the case, said the state poll panel.

The order said that the current legislation violates the accepted principle “by declaring a candidate as elected even though he/she has secured lesser votes than NOTA” and “allows a candidate found unworthy by the majority voters to become their public representative”.