India’s electorate for the upcoming general election will be 81.5 crore, summary revision data released by the Election Commission shows. The electorate is now nearly five times what it was when India first voted, over 60 years ago.
The electorate has grown at double the pace between the last general election and the present one than it had between 2004 and 2009.
The EC has added nearly 10 crore new voters to the rolls between 2009 and 2014, one of the largest-ever such increases between two elections. Over 52 per cent of the electorate is male, an electoral sex ratio that has remained unchanged over time. If anything, it has skewed a little more towards men in the last 10 years.
Since Census data shows that roughly 83.3 crore people are 18 years and above in 2014, the EC would seem to have achieved the incredible registration rate of enrolling 98 per cent of eligible voters.
The EC officials attributed this to special efforts made over the last two years to identify problem areas. “We commissioned a series of detailed studies in States to understand what populations were being excluded and then focussed our efforts on enrolling them,” a senior EC official who did not want to be named, told The Hindu.
Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar account for half of the country’s electorate. However, a look at historical election data reveals the changes that have taken place in the electoral geography of the country.
Over the last 20 years, the electorate of the country has become well over 1.5 times its size. The electorate grew by 64 per cent over the last 20 years even while the overall population grew by just 43 per cent
The electorates of some States have grown much faster than others. Delhi has doubled its electorate size in 20 years, Uttar Pradesh grew by 70% while Madhya Pradesh and Bihar grew at around 25%. Looking at the last 10 years alone, West Bengal was the fastest growing, its electorate increasing by 30% between 2004 and 2014.