DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Strange but true that despite strong campaigning by the political parties and election commission polling percentage have gone down with the last assembly election. During assembly election-2012 voters were around 70 lakh and polling percentage was 67.22 percent. As per the figures rolled out by the election commission, there is a very marginal increase as compared to the 2012 hustings despite 12 lakh voters, including the first time voters, figuring in the electoral rolls. The polling figure was 67.22 percent during 2012 election with the number of voters being around 63 lakh. This time, the turnout percentage is nearly 68 percent while voter is around 75 lakh. However, the polling percentage might move a tad up after the details from the far-flung hill areas finally pour in. As per the election commission officials, the final picture would emerge after the polling teams, sent to the remote areas on February 12, come back by February 17.
As per the data, during general election-2009, the total number of voters were 57,94,398 out of whom 31,26,758 voters- 16,85,289 male and 14,41,469 female- had cast their votes. Polling percentage was 53.96 percent.
During the Assembly election 2012, the number of voters rose up to 62,77,956, including 32,84,345 male and 29,93,610 female while 42,19,925 voters, including 21,59,202 male and 20,60,723 female, had exercised their franchise, meaning that the turnout was 67.22 percent.
During general election-2014, total number of voters rose to 70,43,929, including 36,91,111 male and 33,52,552 female while 43,77,824 voters, including 22,64,125 male and 21,13,686 female, reached booths to cast votes. The turnout percentage had dipped to 62.14 percent. The lower turnout was somewhat inexplicable despite the wave favoring the BJP’s poster boy Narendra Modi sweeping across the country. However, as compared to the 2009 figure, things were better as the voters’ percentage increased by 21.56 percent as per the figures contained in the electoral rolls. Notably, there was a rise of 12,49,531 voters between the two successive general elections held in 2009 and 2014.
Similarly, during the just-concluded Assembly election-2017, around 75,13,543 voters, including 38,87,296 male, 35,33,229 female and 92,837 service voters, were enrolled in voters’ list, but mere 68 percent people cared to reach the booths to elect their government. The figure is unlikely to mount much despite the state’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Radha Raturi insisting on a further rise.
Observers say that things are depressing, given the fact that 12,35,587 new voters including first-time voters- as compared to the 2012 list- have found their ways in the electoral rolls. “Things should be analyzed in depth to solve the riddle of a large section of the voters choosing to steer clear of the democratic engagement. If it is found out that the trend of skipping votes is discernible among the first- time voters it is a bad omen for the health of the state’s democratic functioning. Are they getting disillusioned with the electoral show-off with things on the ground vegetating despite the regime change occurring by turns?” said an observer.
At best, the turnout figure might rise but currently it is 68 percent, meaning an increase of a mere .78 percent, a figure far from satisfactory against the backdrop of the election commission having gone some extra miles to bring about a huge turnout this time.