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Marathon poll ends with highest ever turnout as women, youth throng booths
As polling ended on Monday, the 2014 elections recorded the highest ever turnout with 66.38 per cent voters casting their votes to elect 543 members of the 16th Lok Sabha, beating the previous high of 64.01 per cent in the 1984-85 elections.
With the turnout details from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar — the three states that voted for 41 seats on Monday — still being updated and postal ballots from across the country yet to be counted, Election Commission (EC) officials said the final tally was expected to be higher. The final day turnout was 79.03 per cent in West Bengal, 55.29 per cent in Uttar Pradesh and 54 per cent in Bihar.
Of the total 83.05 crore voters in the country, 55.13 crore voters exercised their franchise in the 2014 elections — 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. The three states where the turnout showed a dip — just marginal — as compared to 2009 are Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim, said Rout.
Among the bigger states, West Bengal witnessed the highest voter turnout (81.77 per cent), followed by Andhra Pradesh (74.24 per cent), Kerala (74.02 per cent), Orissa (73.78 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (73.68 per cent). Karnataka and Gujarat also witnessed voting on the higher side — 67.28 per cent and 63.31 per cent respectively.
Four states/ UTs which saw the highest increase in their voter turnouts as compared to the last general elections are Goa (76.86 per cent in 2014; 55.28 per cent in 2009), Gujarat (63.31 per cent in 2014; 47.9 per cent in 2009), Rajasthan (63.02 per cent in 2014; 48.4 per cent in 2009) and Delhi (64.98 per cent in 2014; 51.85 per cent in 2009).
Significantly, 16 of the total 35 states and UTs recorded a higher women voter turnout than men. The states/ UTs where women voters outnumbered men for the first time ever are Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Goa, Orissa, Puducherry, Punjab, Sikkim and Uttarakhand.
The 2014 elections also saw a change in the trend of apathy among urban voters with many cities recording an increase in their voter turnouts. Besides 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 marked increase.
Meanwhile, the EC’s 11,123 flying squads and 10,425 static surveillance teams seized Rs 313 crore of unaccounted cash, 2.25 crore litres of illicit liquor and 1.85 lakh kilograms of narcotics. Andhra Pradesh topped both cash and liquor seizures (Rs 153 crore cash; 1.44 crore litres of illicit liquor). Of the total drug seizures, 1.39 lakh kilograms were seized from Punjab alone.
Andhra Pradesh also topped the list of states where notices were served for paid news. “Of the total 3,053 notices served all over the country for paid news, 2,168 have been issued in Andhra Pradesh. Of these, 116 have been confirmed as cases of paid news,” said Rout. Nationally, 694 cases have so far been confirmed as cases of paid news.
The Centre spent Rs 3,426 crore for conducting the elections, said EC Director General (Expenditure) P K Dash. The government had spent Rs 1,483 crore in 2009.