Madhya Pradesh records highest increase in voter turnout in current polls
Madhya Pradesh has witnessed more than 10 percentage point increase in voter turnout in the first two rounds of voting for 13 of the 29 Lok Sabha seats in the state than in 2014.Updated: May 07, 2019, 17:05 IST
Madhya Pradesh has witnessed more than 10 percentage point increase in voter turnout in the first two rounds of voting for 13 of the 29 Lok Sabha seats in the state than in 2014, highest for any state in the country so far according to election commission data.
However, the voting percentages in the first two phases in the state was marginally less than voting in 2018 assembly elections for same constituencies. The Congress won 114 seats as compared to 109 by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 230-member state assembly and formed government with the support of four other legislators including two from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
The overall national increase in voting in the first five phases as compared to 2014 was 1.09 percentage points, the commission said on Monday. The other states, where voting percentage was higher than the national average, were Rajasthan (3.01 percentage points), Jharkhand (7.3 percentage points), Andhra Pradesh (8.78 percentage points) and Kerala (3.65 percentage points). The states where voting percentage is less than the national average are Uttarakhand (minus 1.2 percentage % points), Tamil Nadu (minus 1.65 percentage points) and Odisha (minus 1.07 percentage points).
Madhya Pradesh went to the polls in the fourth phase on April 29 for six Lok Sabha seats, around 74.90% of voters cast their vote as compared to 64.84% in 2014 in same constituencies, a rise of 10.06 percentage points. In the same region, the overall voting percentage in 2018 assembly elections was 75.10 %, the state election office data shows.
The increase was even more in the next phase on May 6 when seven seats went to polls. Around 69.1 % voters turned up at polling stations as compared to 57.6 % in 2014, an increase of 11.5%. In the same constituencies in 2018 assembly elections, the polling percentage was about 70%, the state election office data shows.
“The percentage in Lok Sabha so far is not much different from the 2018 assembly election. It’s good that we were able to sustain the trend. People are getting aware of their rights and this is reflecting in voting percentage,” Madhya Pradesh’s chief electoral officer (CEO), VL Kantha Rao, said.
Non-government election watchdog, Association for Democratic Reforms, coordinator for MP, Rolly Shivhare, said, “Social media played important role in bringing middle and upper middle class people out on the voting day. The posts by people, election office and activists on different platforms of social media created so much noise.”
Joint CEO, Abhijeet Agrawal who runs the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) campaign in MP gave credit to middle class and upper middle class voters for increase in voting percentages. “We mainly motivated them to come out and votes. Also, very less waiting time at the polling booths ensured higher voting.”
Spokespersons of Congress and the BJP said the higher polling percentages were good signs for democracy and showed the voters were much more aware.
“Now, voters don’t want to take any chance to allow a government which compelled them to stand in the queue in the bank during which many people died, to spread hatred. This is the reason more people came out during Assembly election and now in Lok Sabha election,” said Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta.
BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said, “The trust of the people in our system and constitutional body – the election commission of India - has increased despite the Congress and other opposition parties raising questions over EC’s credibility.”
Former chief secretary, Nirmala Buch said besides more awareness the way political parties are reaching out to voters has resulted in increasing on voting percentages.
“Earlier, people in the rural and interior area were not aware of the chief minister’s name but now they know the name of even PM post contenders,” she said.