Ahmedabad, Dec 13 (UNI) Chief Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to woo women and new generation voters seems to have paid him some dividends, if the voting trend of first phase are any indication.
Modi not only gave BJP tickets to a record 23 women against 11 by Congress, but also nominated half of the BJP candidates from the younger generation, apparently to come out from the anti-incumbency factor.
The first phase data released by the state Election office shows that while the overall percentage of voting was 59.61 per cent in the first phase (87 constituencies), against 61.54 per cent in 2002 election in the entire Gujarat.
But the difference between men and women voting saw considerable decrease, reflecting that more number of women had cast their vote in Tuesday's polling.
With total electorate vote base increased by ten per cent in the past five years, more than two per cent change in women voters could mean at least two lakhs more women cast their votes in phase one polling as compared to 2002 election.
The figures show that the gap between male and female voters, which was 6.74 per cent in 2002, has shrunk to 4.65 per cent in 2007. Compared with the 2002 elections, only in Jamnagar the women voters still lagged behind the men while in all other places difference has come down considerably.
Tribal dominated Dang district topped the list of more number of women participation in the election process in Gujarat in the first phase.
Accordingly the comparison of men-women percentage difference of 2002 election, this year women voters ratio in Dang increased by 4.62 per cent followed by Surat 4.47 per cent its neighbouring district Navsari sood at 3.08, Valsad 2.96 per cent, Porbandar 2.95 per cent, Bharuch 2.60 per cent Narmada 2.19 per cent, Bhavnagar 1.23 per cent, Junagadh 1.02 per cent while Kutch showed one percent.
Surendrangar, Rajkot, Amreli showed less than 1 per cent difference, pointing to the fact that more women came out to vote.
But in Jamnagar men-women difference was barely 0.55 per cent (it was 7.24 per cent in 2002 and in 2007 showed an increase to 7.79).