NEW DELHI: India may witness the highest ever voter turnout since Independence in the ongoing elections if there is a marginal increase in voting during the remaining three phases, a research report by country's largest bank SBI said Thursday.
About 900 million are expected to cast their votes in the ongoing seven-phase general elections to be completed on May 19.
The country will vote in the fifth phase on May 6. Counting of votes will take place on May 23. After four phases of elections, the voting percentage is 67 per cent, comparable to 67.6 per cent in 2014, said SBI Ecowrap report.
"We believe that if the current trend continues, this year's turnout rate may cross the previous turnout, it may, in fact, be the highest since independence.
Hence a 1 per cent incremental turnout from the current trend of 67 per cent after 4 phases could make it the largest turnout since 1947," the report said.
It further said the 2019 general elections are unique in many aspects. Going by the voter turnout trend over the years, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka have registered highest ever voter turnout since 1962 or in the last 57 years after independence.
Similarly, Chhattisgarh has seen 15 years and Maharashtra 30 years high in voter turnout.
"This particularly suggests that now citizens are more aware of their rights and responsibility, thanks to the relentless campaign by multiple stakeholders starting from the election commission to civil societies who are encouraging all to cast their vote," said Ecowrap.
The SBI's research report also notes that young, elderly and women all seem to take part in Indian elections.
It said states like Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh (partial) and Rajasthan (partial), where the percentage of younger voters (aged between 18-25) on an average is more than the national average, there is a 3.3 per cent increase in voter turnout.
States like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, where the elderly population is higher than the national average, have also witnessed an increase in voter turnout on an average by 1.8 per cent.
Improvement in women voter turnout could be attributed to measures like Jan-Dhan, Mudra, Ujjwala schemes which lead to women empowerment, it added.