Women voters have thrown up confusing signals in Kerala

In Kerala, women voters have thrown up confusing signals
The Sangh Parivar's no-holds-barred faith-based campaign was expected to nudge more women to cast their votes.

Thiruvananthapuram: Here is a puzzle that women in the state have put up for the political parties to bang their heads on. The largest turn out of women voters was witnessed in Vadakara, where Congress's K Muraleedharan takes on CPM's P Jayarajan.

Over 85 per cent of women voters had cast their votes in Vadakara. The lowest female turn out was in Thiruvananthauram, where a three way battle is on among Shashi Tharoor (Congress), C Divakaran (CPI) and Kummanam Rajasekhran (BJP); only 72 percent of female voters had come out to vote.

Lok Sabha Elections 2019

The pre-poll belief was that women voters would turn up in large numbers in both Vadakara and Thiruvananthapuram.

In Vadakara, the Congress had attempted to frame the contest as a chance to defeat the politics of murder by the CPM.

Both the Congress and the CPM had mobilised large groups of women during the campaign, the former to prove that the women were disgusted with Marxist violence and the latter to demonstrate that Jayarajan was a victim of a vilification campaign.

Therefore, according to political observers, a large women turn out was expected.

Nonetheless, it is still not clear for whom they had come out in such strength.

On the other hand, the poor turn out of women in Thiruvananthapuram has come as a surprise.

The Sangh Parivar's no-holds-barred faith-based campaign was expected to nudge more women to cast their votes.

Congress candidate Shashi Tharoor's acceptance among women voters was another factor that predicted a large women presence at polling booths.

The Left, too, had organised women-specific rallies to whip up interest among women.

In spite of the efforts of all the three main fronts, the women in Thiruvananthapuram seemed relatively apathetic.

In this case, too, it is not clear how the indifference of women voters will play out.

However, the most dramatic surge in voting percentage was witnessed in Pathanamthitta and Wayanad. There has been an 8.5 per cent increase in voter turnout in Pathanamthitta, from 65.84 per cent in 2014 it has now swelled to 74.19 per cent.

This should not come as a surprise.

The constituency is the epicentre of the Sabarimala agitation.

But the constituency also has a sizeable minority presence, which analysts feel would do all they can to counter the Hindutva onslaught that piggy-backed on the Sabarimala agitation.

In other words, it will be in Pathanamthitta where the minority-majority show of strength will be the most intense in the state.

Wayanad has also seen a similar surge (7.05 per cent) in voters, from 73.26 per cent to 80.31 per cent. This is easily explained by the Rahul Gandhi factor.

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