A record 75.61 per cent of the 50.25 lakh voters, highest in four decades, exercised their franchise in the November 2017 Assembly elections with the ruling Congress and the BJP being locked in a direct contest. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the state saw 64 per cent turnout.
Interestingly, women voters outnumber men in the state that has 68 legislative Assembly and four Lok Sabha seats.
The election official said the percentage of women voters exercising their franchise in the state has been on the rise since the 1993 Assembly elections. "For almost two decades, the women voters outnumbered men and they hold the key to the formation of a government," the official said.
The turnout of women (71.10 per cent) was almost similar with that of men (71.90 per cent) in 1993. After that, the women voter turnout started exceeding men.
Social scientists attribute the women increased participation in the democratic process to the higher literacy and awareness drives by the Election Commission.
"Women are more active in the state, be it in the fields or participating in the democratic process," said Subhash Mendhapurkar, director of NGO Social Uplift Through Rural Action (SUTRA).
Sadly, the main parties -- the Congress and the BJP -- have not been fair to women even in elections even though they constitutes 49 per cent of electorate. No party has fielded a woman candidate for the four Lok Sabha seats -- Shimla (reserved), Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra.
Chief Electoral Officer Devesh Kumar said the state emerged top performer in enrolment of new electors. About 116,000 new voters were registered in the two-three months. About 250,000 youth have been identified as eligible voters and their registration will be completed by April 19.
Two 'women only' polling stations have been set up in each Assembly constituency. Of the 51.59 lakh voters in the state, 26,45,584 are male and 25,13,357 female.
As per the trend emerging in two decades, the electorate in Himachal Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls has traditionally favoured the party at the helm in the state, except for 2014, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won all the four seats.
In 2009, the BJP, which was then in power in the state, won three of the four Lok Sabha seats. Himachal Pradesh goes to the polls on May 19.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)