Why 90% of Tripura’s electorate turned out to vote

New Delhi | Updated on February 19, 2018

People from the transgender community line up to cast their vote, during the Tripura Assembly elections, on Sunday   -  Abhisek Saha

If you thought that at 89.8 per cent, Tripura’s turnout for Sunday’s Assembly polls was astounding, it is actually a notch lower than the 91.82 per cent recorded in the previous elections in 2013.

What explains the extraordinary polling percentages in the north-eastern State?

“In Tripura, mobilisation by political parties is very high. The State has been ruled by Communists, and traditionally, the voter turnout in States ruled by them is high as they mobile their cadres. This puts pressure on other political parties to mobilise their supporters also. You will notice high voter turnout in West Bengal and Kerala, too,” said former Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath, who was with the poll panel from 2012 to 2015.

Several factors

Among contributing factors were the level of education among the people, and the fact that Tripura is a small State, Sampath told BusinessLine. Another former CEC, HS Brahma, conceded that the close-to-90 per cent turnout appeared to be a bit high. “During our time Manipur and Tripura would report voter turnout of about 80 per cent. It could be 76-78 or 80 per cent; 80 per cent was normal them. This time, the high voter turnout could be because of enrolment of new young voters,” he told BusinessLine. Brahma was a member of the EC between 2010 and 2015.

A spokesperson for the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) also attributed the high voter turnout in the State to Tripura being a “Red” State, and the ability of the CPI(M) to mobilise its cadres, the small size of the State and higher education and awareness among the people of the North-East.

Published on February 19, 2018

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