Women turnout highest-ever in LS polls in Karnataka

Bangalore, April 19: The turnout of women voters at 65.81 percent in all the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka was the highest in a parliamentary poll in the state, an official said Saturday.

“Turnout of women was an impressive 65.81, marking the highest participation of female voters in a parliamentary election,” state chief electoral officer Anil Kumar Jha told reporters here.

The previous highest was in the 1999 mid-term polls at 64.99 percent and 63 percent in the 2004 general election.

Karnataka registered 67.28 percent polling in all the 28 seats, making it the third highest in the state after 67.58 percent in 1999 and 67.53 percent in 1989.

“Significantly, the gap between the overall voting percentage (67.28) and that of women has shrunk, with the difference being 1.47 points. On the whole, 14.8 million women exercised their franchise this time,” Jha said.

Of the estimated 46.2 million voters in the state, 22.6 million are women.

The lowest was in the 1980 snap polls when only 51.6 percent of women voted across the state.

The Election Commission started recording polling percentage of women separately since the 1971 Lok Sabha election.

“The gap between the overall voting percentage and that of women has decreased in the state over the last few elections, with the last three elections (1999, 2004 and 2009) having less than three percentage points – 2.59, 2.14 and 2.16 respectively,” Jha said.

Though women participation in polling has seen a consistent rise, their role in the electoral fray has not been the same.

Of the 435 contestants in the fray this time, only 23 are women, accounting for 5.28 percent of the total candidates.

IANS