Kerala’s high female voter turnout complicates predictions

The higher woman voter turnout in Kerala as compared to men has kept all three political parties –the LDF, UDF and the NDA guessing.

| Updated: 14 May, 2024 12:35 pm IST

Thiruvananthapuram – The higher female voter turnout in Kerala as compared to men has kept all three political parties—the LDF, UDF and NDA—guessing. With few more days left for the final countdown, party leaders are busy crunching the numbers and deciphering the source of the votes that have come in their favour.

Going by the earlier voting patterns in the parliamentary elections, the higher female voter turnouts has always pointed out that there is anti-incumbency against the ruling dispensation in the state. If we go by that parameter, it is a major sweep for the Congress-led UDF.

However, there were few instances which proved otherwise. All together, the top psephologists in the state themselves find it hard to crack the puzzle, as apart from local and national scenarios, a lot of sensitive issues had taken precedence in the minds of voters. With overall poll percentage declining as compared to 2019 polls (77.67 percent in 2019 and 71.27 percent in 2024), psephologists are kept guessing as the reason for the drop in voting percentage.

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Out of the 1, 97, 77,478 voters who exercised their franchise on April 26, as many as 1, 03, 02,238 were female voters, constituting about 52% of the votes polled. While 71.87% of the women voted, the corresponding figure for men is lower at 70.62%. Even as parties attempt to calculate where the women’s votes have gone, which could potentially decide the verdict, political observers feel the trend is difficult to predict as women are not as politically inclined as men.

“If we look at the previous trends from 2009 elections, whenever there is a high female voter turnout, it has always turned out to be a mandate against the ruling government, except in one of the cases. This time around, there is a visible anger against the state government, which has failed to pay the pension arrears to government employees, defaulted on the payments of KSRTC employees. It is also facing the wrath of the public after taxes increased on many entities, starting from land tax, building tax and now exorbitant electricity charges that have affected the day-to-day lives of the middle class society”, said Prashanth Kumar, a psephologist based in Kannur.

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Several issues, such as the pending distribution of welfare pensions, the non-availability of subsidy items in state-owned Supplyco, unemployment, and tax hikes, may have drawn the women voters to the polling booths, thus registering their anger through votes. The Congress hopes that this factor will benefit them the most, whereas the BJP believes that women voters would have voted for a change against the two main conventional fronts in the state.

“Unlike men, women usually vote across party lines. Considering the current political scenario, there are possibilities of voting against the ruling front because of the anti-incumbency factor,” said political commentator and journalist Arjun Vanaj.

The state’s male-female ratio in the electoral roll is 1,000:1,068.

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