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Absolute number of voters correct way to analyse: Report

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Strap: Concerns on low voter turnout a “myth”

 

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MUMBAI, May 6: Terming concerns on low voter turnout in the first two phases of 2024 general elections a “myth”, an economist at the country’s largest lender SBI has said comparing the absolute number of votes cast is a better way to analyse the turnout.

Soumya Kanti Ghosh, the group chief economic adviser at SBI, said there has been 0.4 per cent increase in the absolute number of votes cast in the first two phases.

“The unending debates propagated around supposedly low voter turnout in the first two phases of the General Elections 2024 is a myth. A better measure of votes cast is the absolute number of voters,” he said in a report.

The Election Commission has been working to increase the voting percentage in the remaining phases of the polls.

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Ghosh, who is also a part time member of the 16th Finance Commission, said the voting is about 3.1 percentage points below the trend observed in the last general elections of 2019, but was quick to add that the numbers can “swell” in the remaining 5 phases of polls and there will be a “J-shaped” growth.

“During 2019, the voting pattern showed a declining trend over the 7 phases, starting at 69.4 per cent and finishing at 61.7 per cent. In 2024, we believe a reverse phenomenon could be underway, with voting percentage poised for a marked improvement going by the absolute numbers of voting exercised in the first two phases,” the report said.

In the first two phases of polls till now, there have been salutary changes like higher women participation on an incremental basis, and those in reserved seats as well, it said.

The SBI report said Karnataka accounts for the highest number of increase in voters in 2024, followed by Assam and Maharashtra.

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A granular analysis of constituencies shows that the absolute number of votes cast increased by more than 1 lakh in 85 constituencies, whereas in 25 constituencies, there was a status quo. Hence, 60 per cent constituencies exhibited either increase or no marked difference, it said.

The Lok Sabha elections are being held in seven phases and the polling for the third phase is due on Tuesday.

“We also believe the scorching summer and sweeping heat waves might have played a spoilsport for a certain percentage of voters,” it said.

Meanwhile, it also said that 17th Lok Sabha was the most efficient ever as per its model, and 2023 was the most efficient year for the Parliament in terms of bills passed, at par with 1955.

The years of 1976 (the emergency year with major opposition political leadership in abeyance) and 2020 (the disruptions brought in by the pandemic) have been excluded for the rankings purpose, it said. (PTI)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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