BANGALORE: With the end of the world’s largest democracy elections, India has encountered a marathon polling that ended with highest ever turnout with 66.38 percent voters casted their votes to elect 543 members of the 16th Lok Sabha. Surprisingly, the number beats the previous high of 64.01 percent in the 1984-85 elections, as reported by The Times of India.
The highest polling was recorded in West Bengal with 79.03 percent, where stakes are high for Trinamool Congress hoping to retain all the 14 of the 17 seats, followed by Bihar in second place registering the highest turnout in the last round with 58 percent and finally followed by Uttar Pradesh with 55.29 percent. The turnout in Varanasi, one of the Lok Sabha’s most high-profile constituencies where Narendra Modi is pitted against AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and Congress' Ajai Rai, was pegged at 55.34 percent.
Of the total 83.05 crore voters in the country, 55.13 crore voters exercised their vote in the 2014 elections that saw an increase of 13.40 crore voters compared to the 2009 general elections. “As many as 15 states and union territories (UTs) have witnessed their highest voter turnouts ever. In 32 of the total states and UTs, the turnout was higher than the last Lok Sabha polls,” said EC director general Akshay Rout, reports the Indian Express.The only three states where the turnout showed a dip as compared to 2009 were Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim respectively. Among the bigger states, West Bengal witnessed the highest voter turnout with a whopping 81.77 per cent, followed by Andhra Pradesh 74.24 percent, Kerala 74.02 percent, Orissa 73.78 percent and Tamil Nadu 73.68 percent. Karnataka and Gujarat also witnessed voting on the higher side compared to the previous polls with a turnout of 67.28 percent and 63.31 percent respectively.
Four states and union territories that saw the highest increase in their voter turnouts as compared to the last general elections are—Goa with 76.86 percent compared to 55.28 percent in 2009; Gujarat 63.31 percent in 2014 and 47.9 percent in 2009; Rajasthan 63.02 percent in 2014 and 48.4 percent in 2009; and lastly, the national capital Delhi with a 64.98 percent in 2014 compared to 51.85 percent in 2009.
Significantly, 16 of the total 35 states and union territories recorded the highest women voter turnout than men. The states/ UTs where women voters outclassed men for the first time ever included Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Goa, Orissa, Puducherry, Punjab, Sikkim and Uttarakhand.
The 2014 lok sabha polls also saw a change in the trend of voting among urban voters with many cities like Delhi, Mumbai South Central, Mumbai South, Jaipur, Ahmedabad East, Bhopal, Indore, Surat, Lucknow and Kanpur registered a significant increase in voter turnout. Places like Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Pune and Bangalore also saw a noticeable increase.