The second phase of the Gujarat elections witnessed women coming out in large numbers to vote in the rural and tribal areas. On the other hand, the urban centres, especially in Ahmedabad and Vadodara, recorded low female voting percentage that dragged down the state average to below than that witnessed in 2017.
According to the Election Commission data, while the average female voter turnout was 62.70 per cent in the ongoing Gujarat Assembly election, Garbada (ST) in Dahod district recorded the lowest at 49.12 per cent—over 10 percentage points lower than that of the district at 59.62 per cent. Garbada is also the only seat in the second phase where the female turnout was below 50 per cent.
However, in terms of combined figures of both phases, Gandhidham in Kutch district registered the lowest female turnout—45.59 per cent. On the other hand, Tharad Assembly seat of Banaskantha recorded the highest female voter turnout of 85.22 per cent. Surprisingly, the average turnout of the district was only 72.49 per cent, while the average female turnout was 69.28 per cent.
Banaskantha is also the district that recorded the maximum number of constituencies with a higher female voting percentage. For instance, of the total nine constituencies, five—Tharad (85.22 per cent), Vav at 70.77 per cent, Deesa at 71 per cent, Deodar 71.39 and Dhanera 72.95 per cent—recorded more than 70 per cent female voting percentage.
However, Geniben Thakor, sitting MLA and Congress candidate from Vav, ruled out the female candidate factor and the connect with women voters. “Seats where candidates from different castes were contesting recorded a higher voter turnout. For instance, on the Tharad seat, the fight is between a Rajput and a Chaudhary; on the Deodar seat a Chaudhary versus a Thakor,” Geniben told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, a lower female voter turnout in the urban constituencies dragged down the state average that registered a decline from 2017 when it was 67.78 per cent. Several constituencies in Ahmedabad district recorded low female voting percentage when compared to the entire district average of 56.05 per cent. These seats include Naroda (49.98 per cent), Amraiwadi (51.16 per cent), Thakkarbapanagar (52.39 per cent), Maninagar (52.63 per cent), Ellisbridge (52.86 per cent), Jamalpur Khadia 53.35 (per cent), Sabarmati (53.39 per cent), Naranpura (53.29 per cent), Asarwa (54.32 per cent), Dariapur (55.32 per cent) and Danilimda (55.48 per cent).
In Vadodara district, too, Raopura 54.97 per cent, Sayajigunj 56.93 per cent, Akota 57.38 per cent, Manjalpur 58.19 per cent and Vadodara city recorded 58.21 per cent—lower than the district average of 63.71 per cent.
The male voting percentage, too, declined from 71.99 in 2017 to 67.76 per cent across the state this year. As a result, the state witnessed an overall voter turnout of 65.30 per cent against 69.96 per cent in 2017.