For every 100 incremental male voters, there were 110 incremental female voters voting at any point of time in the first four phases of the 2024 General Elections, cementing their position as the new centre of gravity in Indian politics, according to State Bank of India’s economic research department (ERD).

This comes in the backdrop of women-centric schemes extending a host of benefits for women, ensuring their vocal participation in the elections, it added.

“There are three women-centric schemes, namely, Ujjwala Yojana, Matru Vandana Yojana, and PM Awas Yojana, which have significant ground-level impact in rural areas, which may be resulting in increased women’s participation,” said Soumya Kanti Ghosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, SBI.

The ERD assessed that the first four phases of the 2024 General Elections saw close to 45.1 crore voters casting their votes (as compared to 42.6 crore voters in the same Parliamentary Constituencies/PCs in 2019), aggregating to a voter turnout of 66.95 per cent.

“Our base case estimate puts the incremental number of voters, over and above 2019, at close to 2.5 crore (as per ECI),” the ERD said.

According to the ERD’s provisional analysis (it has not taken account of all other votes such as postal, army, etc.), the overall increase is 1.9 crore voters

“Of these 1.9 crore voters, the number of female voters increased by 93.6 lakh, while male voters increased by 84.7 lakh…thus female voters outstrip men decisively…hence for every additional 100 male voters, there are 110 female voters,” Ghosh said.

Additional women voters at 93.6 lakh

The SBI CEA emphasised that the net incremental share of women voters comes to 93.6 lakh, way above the 84.7 lakh increase in their male counterparts’ participation, hinting at the cementing of women as the new centre of gravity in Indian Politics.

A total of 270 constituencies (out of 373 that have gone to the polls in the first four phases) witnessed increased participation from 1.20 crore women, per the report.

Voter turnout

So far, there has been a 6 per cent increase in the absolute voter turnout in the first four phases, with Karnataka (35.5 lakh), Telangana (31.9 lakh) and Maharashtra (20.0 lakh) leading the increase, while Kerala accounts for largest decline (5.3 lakh), followed by Manipur (3.4 lakh), the ERD said.

Ghosh observed that the increase in absolute votes per constituency in the reserved constituencies is more than the general category constituencies, hinting at the strengthened roots of participative democracy being all pervasive now.

The ERD’s predictive analysis, based on the trends so far, indicates that the overall voter turnout for this Lok Sabha election would be around 67.5 per cent in the base case scenario (almost equivalent to 67.7 per cent in FY2019).

This is based on around 96 crore registered electors, of which 65.3 crore are expected to vote cumulatively in this election (projected men voters being 34.3 crore & women voters 31 crore).

“For the three successive elections beginning 2014, 2019 and in 2024 (provisional), the average incremental voter turnout is a whopping 8 crores… This is four times higher than the average incremental voter turnout at 2 crores for the 15 elections held before 2014

“The 1996 elections happened to be the election which saw a structural break not just in the number of registered electors, but also in terms of overall voter turnout and women voter turnout. The elections in 2014 saw a structural break with a quantum jump in women voter turnout,” said Ghosh.