The number of first-time voters in the 18 to 19 age category has declined significantly since 2012 in Gujarat. While in 2012 the number was 1.34 lakh, in 2022 the number has fallen to 1.12 lakh. In the last five years, from 2017 to 2022, the drop in the number of voters in the said age category has been 9.6%. In 2017 the number was 1.24 lakhs, 1.12 lakh this year. This trend is being seen throughout India.
According to sources, the decline in new voters might be caused by some irregularities in registrations. The projected population in the 18 to 19 age category is 26.75 lakh, but only 11.18 lakh voters are registered. This gap is also because of a lack of awareness about voting in this age group. There is also the possibility that youngsters have left the state to pursue higher studies.
Furthermore, a gap in registration is also seen in the 20 to 29 age group. While the projected population is 1.33 crore, only 1.02 crore voters are registered.
Interestingly, there has been a sharp rise in the number of elderly voters. From 98.56 lakh voters in the 50-plus category in 2012, the number has shot up to 1.57 crore, a 59.6% increase. There has also been a more than 150% rise in the number of voters in the 80-years-plus category. From 4.26 lakh voters in 2012, the number has jumped to 10.66 lakh in 2022.
These trends have led to the opposition parties saying that the Bhartiya Janata Party-led government is looking after its benefits. The Congress leaders are saying that the state government is avoiding registering the new voters because they know that the younger generation will vote against them.