High turnout in this LS poll tells why India's democracy is special

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The Lok Sabha election 2014 is almost halfway through. Polling in 232 constituencies is complete and another 311 constituencies will go to the polls in the remaining four phases. So far, the average voter turnout in five phases is 65 per cent, which is over seven per cent more than that of 2009. The biggest turnout has been recorded in Nagaland (over 89%) while the lowest has been recorded in Madhya Pradesh (54%) and both the figures are higher than that of the previous general election.

It is just not dry statistics. It says a lot about the successful procedural running of the world's largest democracy, even after 66 years of independence. There is no surprise that people from across this planet admire the biggest electoral carnival and the longevity of the biggest democracy over the years despite all odds.

The will of the people to change the country's fate is the most significant part

The turnout is made all the more special by stories of how citizens of this vast country are going out to vote irrespective of pressing issues, even life-threatening at times. It was fascinating to see a few young women telling a reporter in Chhattisgarh during the third phase of the polling on April 10 that there is no point in living like the dead and they vote with the hope for a better future.

In Chhattisgarh, a state which is plagued by endless violence, the voter turnout this time is 64 per cent, which is almost 10 per cent more than that of 2009. Less than a year ago, the entire state leadership of the Congress was wiped out by the Maoists. Yet, the poor and vulnerable people of this state vote. This is what makes India's democracy special, notwithstanding various shortcomings.

A democracy isn't just about the question of which party will get how much vote-share and which one of them will form the majority and who will be the next prime minister of the country. Neither the mutual abuse among the leaders and competition of manifestos are important. Those are issues that parties and the elitist media debate. The real success of the democracy lies in the fact that the people of this huge and diverse nation take interest in determining its future. The will says it all.

Another significant aspect of this election, which involves nearly 82 crore people, is its high degree of turnout among the women voters. In the thriteen states and Union territories where polling has concluded in the first four phases of the 16th Lok Sabha election, 76 per cent of the women voters on an average have turned out to vote (the total turnout is 75.46 per cent).

An enviable record for any developing society, isn't it?

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