As the Maharashtra elections concluded recently, the state, comprising of 288 assembly seats, elected only a handful of women MLAs, just 24 women MLAs which comes to only 8.3 percent. While there are several dynasts and incumbent MLAs who garnered victory from their respective constituencies, a whopping 10 women MLAs are actually first-time winners. Of these 10 first-timers, three are from the ruling party of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), two from National Congress Party (NCP), two are independent candidates and two are from Shiv Sena and one is from Congress.
Here are the debut winners from the Maharashtra assembly elections:
Gavit contested the election as an independent candidate from Sakri and won the seat. She defeated Congress’ Yogendra Bhoye with a total of 18,944 votes. Gavit, who is a BJP rebel, contested from the seat in 2014 assembly elections as well when she lost to Congress’ Dhanaji Sitaram hire just by a gap of 3,323 votes but she redeemed herself this time. Not new to politics, Gavit has served as the former mayor of Dhule Municipal Corporation.
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BJP candidate Mukta Tilak, who won from Kasba Peth constituency, is also currently the Mayor of Pune and has around 1.5 months of service left as a Mayor as she embarks on a new journey as an MLA. Belonging to the family of freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak, Mukta defeated Congress’ Arvind Shinde with a comfortable win. In an interview with HT, she addressed the water woes of her constituency and has promised to resolve it as a top priority. She said, “The problem here is not of shortage but, low pressure. After studying the issue we have found out that the main pipelines have become old and the pipelines distributing water has many leakages.”
BJP’s Shweta Mahale became the only woman who has won a seat in the Vidarbha region with a victory from Chikli. She won against Congress’ Bondre Rahul Sidhavinayak with 6,810 votes.
Winning Byculla is quite a landmark victory for Yamini Jadhav of Shiv Sena as she becomes the first from her party to ever win from this seat. Jadhav secured 51,180 votes and defeated AIMIM’s sitting MLA Waris Pathan by 20,023 votes. “I am thankful to the people of Byculla constituency. They worked for me and ensured my victory. I will work for all communities. I will establish drug de-addiction centres and work to repair old buildings, which are the major issues here,” Jadhav said after winning. The commerce graduate is also a former corporator.
With 78,137 votes, Shiv Sena’s Lata Sonawane won Chopada seat against Jagdishchandra Valvi of NCP with a margin of 20,529 votes. She entered politics after her husband and MLA Chandrakant Sonawane was convicted in a Gharkool Scam in Jalgaon.
BJP’s Shweta Mahale became the only woman who has won a seat in the Vidarbha region with a victory from Chikli. She won against Congress’ Bondre Rahul Sidhavinayak with 6,810 votes. According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) data, the 36-year-old has studied till class 10th and worked as a manager at a builders’ form before becoming an MLA.
Namita Mundada of BJP won from Kaij constituency. A former NCP leader, Mundada left the party just a few days after party supremo Sharad Pawar announced her candidacy from Beed constituency. The leader contested the election in 2014 for the first time from Kaij but lost to BJP’s Sangeeta Thombre came back from BJP this time and clinched the constituency after defeating NCP’s Pruthviraj Sathe by 32,909 votes.
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Congress’s Pratibha Dhanorkar came into politics for the first time and won from Warora constituency – her husband Balu Dhanorkar’s legacy seat while he moved on from Shiv Sena to Congress earlier this year to win from Chandrapur Lok Sabha seat. Pratibha secured 63,498 votes while her rival, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Deotele got 53,403 votes.
Aditi Tatkare of NCP won from Shrivardhan constituency in her debut contest itself. The 28-year-old Tatkare, during a campaign, addressed a crowd full of women and raised the point that she will only be the second woman MLA from the constituency and thanked BR Ambedkar for ensuring equal rights for women. Shrivardhan is the only constituency in Maharashtra with more number of women voters in comparison to male voters. Tatkare is entering the field from her home constituency as she is the daughter of Raigad MP and senior NCP leader Sunil Tatkare who has been an MLA from this constituency twice and then in 2014, it was won by her estranged cousin Avadhut.
Independent candidate Geeta Jain also registered her victory from the constituency of Mira-Bhayander as she won over sitting MLA Narendra Mehta of BJP with a margin of over 15,000 votes. She contested the election independently after her party denied her ticket. She was with BJP before the elections. She was the only female independent candidate contesting from her constituency out of total four independent candidates. Jain was former mayor of Mira-Bhayander township.
Saroj Ahire created history by defeating a Gholap as the clan has been ruling the seat for the past three decades.
NCP’s Saroj Ahire won Deolali constituency against Shiv Sena’s Yogesh Gholap with a major margin of 41,702 votes. She secured a total of 84,326 votes while Gholap garnered 42,624 votes. She created history by defeating a Gholap as the clan has been ruling the seat for the past three decades.
Picture credit: Outlook