The country may see the highest voter turnout since Independence in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls if the first four rounds, which clocked 67% polling, is any indication says a report. Last hustings had closed with the highest turnout at 67.6% and if the remaining three phases of the seven-legged election season record more turnouts then this election will create history since the Independence, says SBI Research. Normally, psephologists and political pundits consider a higher voter turnout as an indication of anti-incumbency. Of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, voting has been completed in 373 seats (69% of the total seats) in the first four of the seven phases, which will end on May 19 after beginning on April 11.
A phase-wise turnout rate indicates that polling in 2019 is more or equal to the 2014 rate, except for the third phase. Overall turnout after the four rounds this time is 67% compared to 67.6% in 2014.
"If the same trend continues, this year's turnout rate may cross the previous record, and will be the highest since Independence," the report said Thursday. It said though the delayed elections in 1985, the voter turnout was 72%, but it was only in Assam and Punjab, and the average turnout of 1984 and in 1985, when only these two states went to polls, is coming 67.9%.So far in the ongoing elections, the voter turnout in Andhra, Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka registered highest ever since 1962 or in last 57 years since Independence.
Chhattisgarh has seen a 15 years and Maharashtra a 30 years high in voter turnout. Mumbai registered a voter turnout of 55.1%, which is the highest for the city since 1989, the report said. In Assam, Bihar, UP, Andhra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, MP (partial) and Rajasthan (partial) the polling percentage of younger voters in the 18-25 age bracket) on an average is more than national average, there is a 3.3% increase in voter turnout (additional 4.5 million), it said. States like Maharashtra where the elderly population is higher than national average has witnessed an increase in voter turnout, though marginally.
In Karnataka and Kerala that are relatively older states (8.6 percent elderly population, that is much higher than the national average) there is also an increased 1.8 percent more voting (or 1.1 million), it said. Women voters who were previously missing from electoral process due to various socio-economic reasons, their numbers have come down in 2019 and are also now actively casting their votes. It said in the Westerns states, where poverty is less, are seeing better polling this year than in the past election. Southern states also have lower levels of deprivation, and with the exception of Tamil Nadu, they have improved their voter turnout, the report said.