The final figure of 73.68 per cent polling in Tamil Nadu, released by the office of Chief Electoral Officer on Saturday, makes the turnout in the Lok Sabha elections the second highest after the 1967 figure of 76.56 per cent.
According to the updated data, 73.51 per cent of the male voters and 73.86 per cent of the female voters exercised their franchise in polling held on Thursday, compared with 74.12 and 71.97 respectively in 2009. The figures for the others category (transgenders) was 12.54 per cent.
Dharmapuri, where caste clashes have resulted in polarisation, topped the list, with 81.14 per cent. Three other constituencies — Karur, Arani and Perambalur — polled more than 80 per cent. In the 2009 polls, Karur alone breached this mark.
Officials at the CEO office said polling of over 75 per cent was considered significant by the Election Commission. This mark was surpassed in 21 constituencies in 2014, compared with 17 in 2009.
Psephologist Venkatesh Athreya told The Hindu that the marginal 0.64 per cent rise in polling this time ruled out the “much-hyped” wave in favour of the BJP prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, in Tamil Nadu. “As this is a Lok Sabha election, the anti-incumbency factor is likely to work more against the Congress and the DMK, which was part of the UPA for nine years, than the ruling party [the AIADMK] in the State,” he pointed out.
However, BJP national secretary Tamilisai Soundarrajan said it was premature to arrive at any conclusion.
“There has been a significant addition to the total electorate [over 80 lakh] this time. The support for Mr. Modi is significant among the first-time young voters, so let us wait for the results,” she said.
Of the 39 constituencies, the percentage of women who voted was higher than the percentage of men (relative to the total female and male electorate) in 19 constituencies. In 2009, only eight constituencies showed such a trend. Also, women had a higher turnout percentage in 32 of the 39 constituencies on Thursday, compared with 2009.
The average turnout of female voters in the seven reserved constituencies was higher, at 76.07 per cent, compared with 73.77 per cent in the general seats.