| Women wait to cast their votes at a polling station in Tezpur. File picture |
Guwahati, April 9: Women outnumbered men in exercising their franchise this general election in Assam’s Tezpur parliamentary constituency.
According to the figures released by the Election Commission, Tezpur was the sole exception among the five constituencies in the state that went to poll in the first phase on Monday, where the percentage of female voter turnout was higher than that of males.
In Tezpur, the voting percentage of female voters stood at 78.65 per cent compared to 77.49 per cent of male voters.
Of the nine Assembly segments under Tezpur constituency, the percentage of female voter turnout was higher than that of men in seven segmentsthat include Dhekiajuli, Barchala, Rangapara, Sootea, Biswanath, Behali and Gohpur.
Assam’s chief electoral officer Vijayendra attributed it to issuance of elector’s photo identity card (EPIC) to voters for the first time in the state, among other reasons.
“Usually, women in rural areas, particularly housewives, do not have any of the alternative identity documents required to cast votes. This time, EPICs have been issued to around 92 per cent voters in the state as a result of which the percentage of female voters as well as the overall voting percentage have gone up in the state,” Vijayendra said.
In the first phase, Assam recorded overall polling percentage of 78.6 per cent, which is the highest in any parliamentary poll so far. He said widespread voters’ awareness campaign could be another reason for high female voter turnout. “High poll percentage is always a healthy sign, and the fact that female voters participated in bigger numbers is a very encouraging trend. We hope to witness a similar pattern in the next two phases in the state,” another officer in the state election department said.
“The overwhelming participation of women voters in the democratic process in Tezpur can also be seen as a classic case of women empowerment,” he added.
In the other four constituencies, the women voters are not far behind the men even though the poll percentage of female voters could not surpass that of male.
In Kaliabor, the female voting percentage was 79.60 per cent compared to 80.54 of men while in Dibrugarh, the female percentage was 78.72 per cent compared to male percentage of 79.86 per cent.
A similar trend was also observed at Lakhimpur parliamentary constituency where the female voting percentage was 78.40 per cent, a bit lower than the male percentage of 79.02 per cent.
Among the five constituencies, only in Jorhat the difference between voting percentage of male and female voters was comparatively a bit high, which is nearly 2 per cent.
In Jorhat, the female voting percent was 77.38 per cent while that of males was 79.27 per cent.