2014 general elections: Maharashtra gets 40 lakh new voters this year
The rush for getting names registered in the state's voters' list this year signals the changing political climate in the country, say experts
The country with the largest youth population in the world is about to go to vote, and the clarion call for change from young India is the most resounding in Maharashtra. For the first time in modern history, young Maharashtrians will vote in numbers never seen before, what with 40 lakh new names set to feature on the state electoral rolls before the general elections in April-May, followed by the state assembly elections in October.
This figure of new voters, who will make their debut on the lists this year, is the highest in recent times, analysts observe. The last revision of voters’ list had seen an addition of approximately 18-20 lakh voters, say officials currently engaged in the revision of the rolls. The final list is being uploaded to the central pool of voters’ identity, and it will be made official duringthe current month.
Nilesh Gatne, joint chief electoral officer of the state, said the new demographic is owed to the intensive campaigning across the state to rally the youth. “We will have a National Voters’ Day celebration on January 25 during which electoral photo identity cards (EPIC) will be distributed to new voters. While the state-level function is being organised at Aurangabad, each and every district will have similar functions at local levels,” he said.
With the altered count, the state list of voters is likely to swell up to 7.92 crore. The same list had 7.29 crore in 2009. “The growth is phenomenal as the last three years saw an addition of approximately 23 lakh voters, and the current year is witnessing an addition of 40 lakh,” said an official. That’s The addition of new voters above 18 years of age is more than the new voters who have migrated from other places or changed their place of residence. The deletion of duplicate names or those deceased has been accounted for in the voters’ list.
Politics in the air?
According to senior journalist Kumar Ketkar, the higher growth could be a result of the political and social milieu across the nation. “A section of society is unhappy, or rather, angry with the people in the government. A contributing factor to the enlargement of voters’ list is also the agitation launched by social crusader Anna Hazare, awareness among people to vote and, of course, a negative and violent expression of anger through social media,” he said.
According to political analyst and Professor Surendra Jondhale of Mumbai University, Thane, “The high growth is due to the sustained campaign by the Election Commission to register voters, growing awareness among people to participate in the democratic process, and the new environment created due to the efforts taken by NGOs.”
The number is huge and it would mean a lot for us. The new 40 lakh voters would mostly be youth who are smitten by Modi’s idea of development. We also expect voters to be in our favour because our party leaders, including Poonam Mahajan, Ashsih Shelar and others, have continuously worked via social media, and WhatsApp to get the voters registered, and many of these 40 lakh voters got registered because of our process of registration; they have been mobilised by the leaders. We expect a huge turnout in favour of the BJP among the youth in the coming days. - Niranjan Shetty, BJP spokesperson
We are the only party that has a cadre that mostly comprises youth. Shiv Sena had realised that it is the youth that will drive the change, and hence Yuva Sena had been working continuously with the youth. Our party has a lot of youth support and in the coming days we are holding a special executive meeting of the party’s youth brigade that would be presided over by Aaditya Thackeray, where from district to booth level, young cadres would be mobilised to work for the party. Shiv Sena has always been associated with the youth and the youth also connects with us. Among the 40 lakh, many would be from our party as we carried out a major voter registration drive. - Rahul Narvekar, Shiv Sena spokesperson
AAP expects registration of nearly 10 lakh members from Maharashtra itself, while the party’s national target is 1 crore members by January 26. At most levels, we have our party’s base ready; at district and taluka-level, our committees are all set, and in some cases, our committees are formed even at booth-level. We would soon declare the party’s list of Lok Sabha candidates, and by January 20 the first list would be out. - Mayank Gandhi, national executive member of AAP
- (As told to Varun Singh)
Population of Maharashtra
2001 Census: 9.67 crore
2011 Census: 11.24 crore
Number of people added to the list in the previous three years
Expected number of people from Maharashtra in the revised voters’ list