The saffron surge was missing in the turnouts for Tamil Nadu (72.8%) and Chennai (60%), which recorded dips of some percentage points from the last election figures.
Of the total 53.7 million voters registered, 72.8% voted on Thursday compared to 72.98% of a 41.6-million electorate in the 2009 elections, said state chief electoral officer Praveen Kumar.
The Election Commission also announced that the absolute numbers, however, would be higher this time as there was a significant increase in the number of voters.
Yet, the percentage indicated lower enthusiasm, said a political analyst, who felt the turnout could dampen the spirits of the BJP-led alliance as it was banking on young voters.
But L Ganeshan, BJP leader and South Chennai candidate, said, “Though there is no increase in the percentage, there’s a huge rise in the number of voters. The well-to-do and middle class people queued up for voting, which is a good sign.
Ideally, no change in the voting percentage should mean good news for the ruling dispensation in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK. But the figures are being interpreted differently by the two Dravidian parties.
Watch: HT Explains: Small parties hold key to Tamil Nadu
DMK spokesperson TKS Elangovan, however, told a television channel that his party would improve on its current tally of 18 seats as the Modi factor would work to its advantage by taking away the AIADMK vote.
AIADMK leaders, on the other hand, are expecting a sweep in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, which send 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha – enough for party chief J Jayalalithaa to play a decisive role at the Centre. A senior AIADMK leader even claimed that his party would bag all the 40 seats.
The DMK asserted that the high-profile campaign by the BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi had worked to its advantage. The minorities had backed the DMK, Elangovan asserted.
Ramu Manivannan of Madras University is convinced that there is no Modi wave and that the missing voter surge may lead to the party’s disappointment.
He also said the voting pattern did not indicate a positive trend for the DMK. For Manivannan, the AIADMK was way ahead and could end up as the largest party with at least 25 seats.
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(With inputs from agencies)