Only 16 out of 229 Congress candidates, which is less than 7 per cent of the total number, contesting for the assembly elections are women. BJP has declared six names so far and Janata Dal has four
Numbers provided by the Election Commission of India indicate that women voters in Karnataka has increased from 2.13 crore in the 2013 assembly election to 2.44 crore ahead of next month's polling. However, the number of women candidates fielded by major parties remains low, as per a report in The Economic Times.
Only 16 out of 229 Congress candidates, which is less than 7 per cent of the total number, contesting for the assembly elections are women. BJP has declared six names so far and Janata Dal has 4 women out of 126 candidates.
Bharti Shetty, who heads the women’s wing in BJP, says the party had aimed for 150 names. “Given that the number of women voters are very high and we have been raking up issues related to women’s safety, the numbers are abysmal.”
The process of selection of women candidates in the state, as seen over the years, is indicative of how hollow it is; some women are selected more as a 'customary gesture' than as a result of their performance.
In the forthcoming elections, widows of two Congress MLAs and daughter of another late Congress MLA have been selected. At least four lawmakers’ children have been given tickets, including MLA Ramalinga Reddy and Kolar MP KH Muniyappa. Congress’ women minister Umashree and Mahila Wing head Lakshmi Ravindra Hebbalkar have been retained.
BJP is likely to field MP Shobha Karandlaje, along with S Ashwani from Kolar Gold Fields. Ashwani will be replacing her father Y Sampangi, who was accused of corruption.
In Karnataka, women have chosen to contest as independent candidates against the state’s male-dominated politics. In 2013, among the 2,945 candidates, only 175 were women. Congress fielded eight women candidates, BJP had seven and JDS had 12. Sixty-seven women contested as independents but only six won.
Election Commission records indicate that while the number of women has increased over the years, the number of winners has gone down remarkably.
Ironically, although there aren't enough women contestants, the parties identify women voters’ constituencies as important for the elections.
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