Bangalore: Karnataka recorded the second highest voter turnout in 35 years with a polling percentage of 71.29 in the May five Assembly polls, a top electoral officer said.
The highest voter turnout of 71.90 percent was registered in 1978.
A recharged Congress sees the highly impressive polling percentage as clear sign of winds of change that would bring the party back to power after an eight-year long hiatus.
But ruling BJP has a different take. It feels the increase in turnout was because more BJP supporters turned up.
Pre-poll surveys and exit polls have forecast a victory for Congress aided by the presence of Karnataka Janatha Paksha led by former BJP strongman BS Yeddyurappa who has made no bones about his intention to "decimate" BJP.
Speaking to reporters here today, Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha said since the 1994 assembly polls, there had been a significant drop in the percentage of voter turnout till the last elections held in 2008.
"Karnataka registered 71.29 percent voter turnout in the May 5 assembly polls. In the last elections, the state had recorded 64.78 percent voter turnout. This is quite a significant percentage jump over last elections," Jha said.
In the 1994 elections, the state had recorded 68.59 percent voter turnout and in the 1999 polls, it was 67.65 percent, Jha said. In 2004, 65.17 percent voter turnout was recorded.
Jha also said Bangalore Urban Assembly constituency witnessed a significant jump in voter turnout compared to the 2008 elections. The district recorded 57.38 voter turnout compared to 49.87 percent in the last elections.
All thirty districts, except Mysore, have recorded improved voter turnout compared to the last elections, Jha said.
"Mysore recorded 65.83 percent voter turnout compared to 67.03 percent in the last elections," he said.
The highest voter turnout was recorded in Chikkaballapur district with 83.50 and the lowest in Bangalore Urban district at 57.58 percent, Jha said.
He said the male-female voting ratio was "healthy" with male voter turnout percentage being 71.84 and female's 70.1.
In the last elections, voter turnout for men was 66.33 percent and for women 63.23 percent. "This shows a large number of female voters came out for voting this time," he added.