Voters in Kerala endured long waiting hours to exercise their voting right in the ongoing parliamentary elections in the state. In all of this women emerged in higher numbers as compared to men to cast their vote hence becoming the deciding factor in their respective constituencies. Kerala women outnumbered men in five constituencies in particular, they are—Vadakara (89,546), Ponnani (83,416), Attingal (81,550), Kasargod (81,281) and Thrissur (62,954) but in Thiruvananthapuram (23,284) and Pathanamthitta (40,892) there wasn’t a huge difference between men and women voters.

Numbers show that both men and women who cast their votes increased in percentage since 2014. But women voters rose higher in number than the men voters. In the current Lok Sabha elections, 76.48 per cent men voted in comparison to 73. 95 per cent in 2014 while 78.80 per cent women voted this year as against 73.85 per cent in 2014 increasing women’s percentage by 2.32 against men. While the percentage of eligible voters who voted increased in both genders, men voters were higher in percentage than women in 2014 which has reversed in 2019.

Talking about if this will have any impact on the Sabarimala issue which is at the heart of state politics in Kerala, K N Harilal, professor, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram told TNIE, “Based on these numbers, it’s very difficult to connect to the Sabarimala issue. But, if you look at the constituencies where women voted in large numbers, viz., Ponnani, Vadakara, Kasargod and even Attingal, the common thread is that these places have a large concentration of Muslim population. So, it could be that there is a consolidation of minority votes who may be voting against the Modi Government’s anti-Muslim stand. This could be one interpretation.”

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Whereas CMP leader C P John noted that the areas where women voters’ percentage is higher than men are the areas where men are actually working in outstation jobs mostly in the Gulf region. “While the men have not returned to cast their votes, the women who had stayed back in their homes last time, have ventured out to vote,” he said.

“Constituencies like Ponnani and Vadakara are areas where a large number of people are working abroad. So, this could be the reason for the higher number of women voters polled,” said a former legislator Sebastian Paul.

While the men have not returned to cast their votes, the women who had stayed back in their homes last time, have ventured out to vote

Of the total 20 constituencies in Kerala, it is only in Idukki (-14,478) and Kottayam (-5771) that men voters voted in larger numbers than women. “In both Idukki and Kottayam, the migration is by women, most of whom are working as nurses abroad,” stated C P John about these constituencies.

Kerala basically followed the voting trend laid down by states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Lakshwadeep, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya in phase one and phase two.

Picture Credit- Sudip Pan/Twitter

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