Lok Sabha polls 2019: Bihar records substantial female turnout, highest in Katihar

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 22, 2019, 12:03 PM IST

File photo. Photograph:(AFP)

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As per the figures released by the Election Commission here, the overall turnout for female voters stood at 59.92 per cent as against 55.26 per cent for men.

Nearly 60 per cent female voters came out to exercise their franchise in Bihar in the Lok Sabha elections as against just about 55 per cent turnout for men.

As per the figures released by the Election Commission here, the overall turnout for female voters stood at 59.92 per cent as against 55.26 per cent for men.

The constituencies which registered the highest female turnouts were Katihar (72.37), Supaul (71.64), Kishanganj (70.37), Araria (69.39), Purnea (68.15), Begusarai (67.13), Samastipur (66.74), Vaishali (66.62) and Ujiarpur (65.12).

In contrast, the male turnout did not exceed 65 per cent in any of the 40 seats in the state and exceeded 60 per cent in only five Supaul, Araria, Kishanganj, Katihar and Purnea, it said.

Notably, among the constituencies with the highest female turnouts, only Supaul and Vaishali had a woman candidate as one of the main contestants.

While sitting Congress MP Ranjeet Ranjan is in the fray from Supaul, in Vaishali the LJP has fielded Veena Devi. In some constituencies, the difference between male and female turnout was significantly high. In Sitamarhi 54.53 per cent men voted as against 64.36 per cent women.

In Madhubani and Jhanjharpur, the male turnout stood at 48.14 per cent and 51.25 per cent respectively as against 59.97 per cent and 63.83 per cent for female voters in these constituencies.

Siwan, where the main contest is between Kavita Singh of JD(U) and Heena Shahab of RJD, both married to local bahubalis, the female voters appeared similarly enthusiastic as their turnout stood at 59.56 per cent as against only 50.17 per cent for men.

However, in adjoining Gopalganj (SC) and Maharajganj, which did not have any prominent female candidate, womens turnout was, similarly, about 10 per cent higher than that of men.

However, all the constituencies which went to polls in the last phase registered lower female turnouts. Patna Sahib, which covers the entire Bihar capital, saw a measly 43.07 per cent female turnout as gainst 49.27 per cent men.

The seat is witnessing a high-profile battle between actor-turned-politician and second term MP Shatrughan Sinha, who is the contesting on a Congress ticket, and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who has been fielded by the BJP.

In adjoining Pataliputra, Lalu Prasad's daughter Misa Bharti's presence in the fray seems to have failed to enthuse female voters as their turnout stood at 52.40 per cent compared with 59.07 per cent for male.

In Sasaram (SC), which former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar seeks to wrest back from BJPs Chhedi Paswan, female turnout was 51.65 per cent as against 56.88 per cent for male.

Even in Nalanda, the home turf of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who has been working over the years to carve out a following among female voters, cutting across caste and religious lines, through measures like reservations in panchayats ban on alcohol and free uniforms and bicycles to school-going girls, only 47.44 per cent women voted compared with 50.15 per cent men.

Female turnout was similarly lower than that of men in the remaining four seats Arrah, Jehanabad, Karakat and Buxar which went to polls on May 19.

The only other seat besides these eight where the female turnout remained lower than that of male was Gaya (SC).

Former chief minister and HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi is engaged in, virtually, a straight contest with JD(U)s Vijay Manjhi in the constituency which went to polls in the first phase on April 11 and where 55.55 per cent women came out to vote as against 56.74 per cent men.