Not so long ago, 60% polling was considered an excellent turnout, but these days 70% and above has become a norm. In this election, the turnout in state went further up to 75%, which is a positive sign for a maturing democracy, where the electorate has come to realise the importance of their one vote.


Political analyst Girija Shankar said, “There have been 17 or 18 elections since the Independence. Media’s reach has spread to almost every household even in the rural areas and most importantly, panchayat and urban body elections are being held regularly since 1993, making voting a habit among people.”

Activist Abdul Jabbar attributes the trend to quantum jump in voting in past few elections. He said, “Of course, it’s a good sign. People are now more aware about their right to vote and exercising it to keep the country on the right course. Youngsters are also voting with palpable enthusiasm sparking hopes of 100% turnout in the future.”

Efforts of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and civil rights’ groups like Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) to spread awareness among electorate to exercise their franchise has also contributed significantly towards rise in voting. “The sustained campaign by the EC over the years has left an impact not only on the adults, but also on youngsters. My niece, a minor, wished to vote and when I told her that she was not old enough, she insisted that I take her to polling stations so that she could see how votes are cast,” said Peeyush Sharma, a businessman. 

Initiatives like MP Petrol Pump Owners’ Association requesting its employees to ensure voting by all eligible persons in their family before coming to duty also paid off. President of the Association, Ajay Singh, claimed that there was 100% voting from families of people employed with petrol pumps in Madhya Pradesh.

The New Market Vyapari Mahasangh also circulated the slogan “Pahle Matdan, Phir Pratishthan” (First vote, then open your establishment) among its members, which obviously had an impact. Such small initiatives were not limited to Bhopalonly, but spread across the state.

In a novel initiative, members of Bhopal Private Practitioners’ Association decided to give free consultancy to people with inked fingers on the day of voting.

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