Female Voters Set to Equal Men in Coming India Polls, SBI Says

(Bloomberg) — The gender gap among Indian voters is narrowing with the participation of women set to constitute about half of the turnout in the 2024 national elections, according to a report by the State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender.

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“Rising participation of women in India’s political arena is one of the most significant stories of the last decade,” the report published by the bank’s Economic Research Department said on Thursday. “Women voters are now playing a significantly bigger role in elections than ever before.”

The total voter turnout at the current rate of polling could touch 680 million by next year, of which women voters could be 330 million, the report estimates. That number could outstrip registered male voters in the 2029 polls. In 2014, the gender gap between voters was 30 million more men.

For decades, voting in India has been a male-dominated enterprise. Now increasingly, females are turning out to be an important, decision-making group as they become more literate and educated leading to political parties specifically targeting them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts at luring the bloc through the women’s reservation bill, cooking gas subsidies, cheaper loans and cash handouts have paid dividends at the polling booth for him and his Bharatiya Janata Party. Recently, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, women-focused welfare plans were widely credited as the reason behind the BJP retaining power.

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