India’s electorate has swelled by nearly five times since the first general elections in 1951-52, with Uttar Pradesh registering the highest growth and Lakshadweep the lowest.
According to the Election Commission (EC), the total size of the country’s electorate grew from 173,212,343 voters in 1951-52 to 814,591,184 in 2014. Since the 2009 polls, the total number of electors in the country has grown by around 9.7 crore. Among the 28 states and seven Union Territories, Uttar Pradesh registered the highest growth in electorate size relative to 2004, while Lakshadweep the lowest. The general elections are scheduled to be held in April-May this year.
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have the largest number of voters and together they constitute 49.1 per cent of total voters in the country, while Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Nagaland constitute just 0.5 per cent of the total electors.
Relative to 1971, the year since when the sex wise break-up of voters was available, both the number of male and the female electors has became 2.97 times higher today.
The proportion of female electors has showed little variation since 1971, always hovering between 47.4 per cent and 48 per cent.
Following a Supreme Court directive, the EC has issued guidelines on election manifesto, asking political parties to reflect the rationale for the promises made and broadly indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirements for the same.
“Political parties should avoid making those promises which are likely to vitiate the purity of the election process or exert undue influence on the voters in exercising their franchise,” the guidelines said.
While the Election Commission agrees in principle with the view that framing of manifestos was the right of political parties, it said it could not overlook the impact of some of the promises and offers on the conduct of free and fair elections and maintaining level playing field for all political parties and candidates.
Editorial: Parties Must Promise What They Can Deliver