Dakshina Kannada, which registered the highest polling percentage among the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State on Thursday, has maintained a good track record from the very first general election when it comes to voter turnout.
An analysis of the voting pattern shows that the turnout here has always been better than the State and national average.
Incidentally, Thursday’s turnout of 77.185 per cent is the highest recorded in the constituency, which was known as South Canara South in the first general election and as Mangalore till 2008. Prior to 2008, the constituency included parts of Kodagu district and some parts of Dakshina Kannada were in the Udupi constituency. The lowest polling percentage recorded in the constituency is 57.43, in the second Lok Sabha elections in 1957.
Jayaraj Amin, political science professor at Mangalore University, said factors such as the newfound positive outlook of the youth towards politics and greater interaction of political party agents during campaign contributed to the impressive voter turnout this time.
Prof. Amin and Rolphie Mascarenhas, retired head of the Department of Political Science in St. Aloysius College, think that Narendra Modi factor could have influenced voters — both opposed to and supporting the Gujarat Chief Minister, to exercise their franchise.
Prof. Mascarenhas said “enlightenment” of voters, greater awareness, and literacy had led to better turnout over the years. He said his daughter, a clinical embryologist in Mumbai, and his son, a chartered accountant in Bangalore, came down to Mangalore only to vote. Those who do not vote had no moral right to criticise the government, he said.