Why Tamil Nadu recorded a low voter turnout this Lok Sabha elections

TN records 69.46 per cent, as compared to 72.47 per cent in 2019

India Election A voter carries a little girl as he casts his vote at a polling station during the first round of polling of Lok Sabha elections in Chennai | AP

Tamil Nadu recorded a lower polling percentage in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections compared to the 2019 elections. A total of 69.46 per cent of the electorate came out to cast their vote for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls held on April 19 in the state. As per the data provided by the Election Commission of India, 30 out of the 39 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu saw a two per cent dip in voter turnout, compared to the previous general elections in the State. The voter turnout was 72.47 per cent in 2019, 73.74 per cent in 2014 and 73.02 per cent in the 2009 elections. 

In Chennai - central, south and north the voter turnout had dipped by four per cent. The total electorate in the three Lok Sabha constituencies in Chennai is 48.69 lakh. The turnout for all three Parliamentary constituencies of Chennai stood at 56.10 per cent - Central Chennai 53.91 per cent, South Chennai 54.27 per cent and North Chennai 60.13 per cent. In Chennai too assembly segments like Villivakkam witnessed lowest turnout while a few assembly segments like RK Nagar, Egmore and Saidapet witnessed brisk voting. 

The Thoothukudi constituency recorded the maximum reduction of nearly 9.5 percentage points compared to the 2019 election; Sivaganga, Theni and Chennai Central also saw dips of around five percentage points each

According to sources, women voted in large numbers in semi-urban and rural areas. Constituencies like Dharmapuri, Kallakuruchi, Vellore, Perambalur, Karur, Salem and Villupuram saw a brisk voter turnout. There are multiple reasons for the high number of women voters turn out in these regions - the women's welfare schemes and willingness to vote. While Vellore saw a two per cent increase in voter turnout, Sivaganga, Theni, Nagapattinam (SC) and Chennai Central saw a five per cent dip in voting percentage. Thoothukudi saw a 9 percent dip. 

Also there is no visible anti-incumbency against the central or state government in Tamil Nadu. Usually, when there is an anti-incumbency in Tamil Nadu, the voters come in large numbers and vote against the ruling party. Also, the poll surveys predict that the status quo - victory for NDA in Delhi and DMK in Tamil Nadu - has made the voters stay indoors. 

The political parties feel that the Election Commission of India holding elections on a Friday paved the way for a long weekend. On the other hand, the electoral rolls published by the ECI had huge discrepancies. The ECI, unlike in the past years, used only Aadhar as a common authentic source to verify the electoral rolls. Earlier, the ECI used to adopt various conventional methodologies to verify electoral rolls. Incidentally, BJP state chief K Annamalai charged that the names of at least one lakh people were left out from the rolls. 

Sources also say that in a few constituencies, the cash distribution was done evenly in all assembly segments by all three parties - DMK, AIADMK and the BJP. But, in certain constituencies where the parties were confident of winning or losing, they did not distribute money. In some of the urban constituencies, as per highly placed sources, Rs 1000 was distributed per vote, while it was Rs 250 to Rs 300 in most of the constituencies. 

Tamil Nadu in total has 6.23 crore voters - 3.06 men, 3.17 women and 8467 trans persons. A total of 950 contestants were there in the fray in 39 constituencies in the state. 

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