We are smack in the middle of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as the people in constituencies that come under phase four will go out to cast their vote today. A total of eight states Bihar (5 parliamentary constituencies), Jharkhand (3), Madhya Pradesh (6), Maharashtra (17), Odisha (6), Rajasthan (13), Uttar Pradesh (13) and West Bengal (8) are in the fray and comparatively lesser number of constituencies totalling up to 71 are going to poll this time. For these 71 constituencies, a total of 943 candidates are in fray including an awfully less number of women candidates standing at 69 only or 7.31% according to Form 7 A List of candidates released by the Election Commission of India.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Maharashtra’s 17 constituencies are poling on Monday with 18 women fielded by political parties and 19 women contesting independently.
  • Rajasthan has a dismal seven candidates fielded in 13 constituencies out of 115 candidates. The states has the highest number of constituencies  without even a single woman candidates, at seven seats.
  • West Bengal and Jharkhand have no female independent candidates.
  • While Bihar has three women candidates in fray, Jharkhand has two from their total five and three constituencies each.
  • Odisha takes the cake for having the highest average of women candidates so far.

For these 71 constituencies, a total of 943 candidates are in fray including an awfully less number of women candidates standing at 69 only or 7.31%.

Many influential women candidates in Maharashtra 

Maharashtra has 17 constituencies and 323 candidates are contesting in total of which only 18 are women and of its 148 independent candidates, 19 are women. Interestingly, it is the only state in phase four which has more number of independent women contesting elections than women fielded by various regional and national parties. Its Mumbai North East constituency is witnessing the most number of women fielded at a total of seven women candidates including two independent women candidates.

Not only is Maharashtra the biggest state to poll in phase four, it also has some of the most influential women candidates in the fray like Urmila Matondkar from Mumbai North. Two-time MP Priya Dutt from Congress party, contesting from Mumbai North Central, who is up against BJP’s Poonam Mahajan, who defeated Dutt from the same constituency in 2014 with 1.86 lakh votes.

From all of 13 constituencies in Rajasthan, only four women candidates are fielded by political parties and three more women candidates are contesting independently while a total 115 candidates are in the fray, overall including 43 independent candidates. This brings the percentage of women candidates to a meagre 6.08% -this is the lowest a state has gone so far in fielding women candidates.

Dismal female representation in Rajasthan

Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh both have 13 constituencies each going to polls today, but Rajasthan has the poorest representation of women candidates contesting in the Lok Sabha Elections. From all of 13 constituencies, only four women candidates are fielded by political parties and three more women candidates are contesting independently while a total 115 candidates are in the fray, overall including 43 independent candidates. This brings the percentage of women candidates to a meagre 6.08% -this is the lowest a state has gone so far in fielding women candidates. This state has the highest number of constituencies at seven seats without a single woman candidate contesting for them.

Only three independent women candidates in Uttar Pradesh

On the other hand in UP, total 152 candidates are contesting including 42 independent candidates. Of the total number, 16 women are contesting with tickets from regional and political parties and three are contesting independently. In both Rajasthan and UP constituencies in phase four, BJP hasn’t fielded even a single woman candidate while Congress has just fielded one woman—Manjari Rahi from Misrikh. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has also fielded a female candidate from the seat, Dr. Nilu Satyarthi. A total of 12.5% women candidates are competing from UP in phase four including three women candidates from Samajwadi Party (SP) and two from BSP.

On the other hand in UP, total 152 candidates are contesting including 42 independent candidates.

ALSO READ: Election 2019: Meet the Women Candidates of Gujarat

Odisha tops in average number of women candidates

West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar are other states that also have a few seats up for polls with eight, six, six, five and three seats respectively. And among these Odisha takes the credit for fielding most number of women candidates with nine women fielded by political parties out of 52 total candidates making it 17.30% of total number and three independent female candidates out of a total of 12 making it 25% of the total number.

No independent women candidates in West Bengal and Jharkhand

For West Bengal’s eight seats, political parties have fielded nine women candidates out of the total of 68 candidates which is 13.23% of the total number. All India Trinamool Congress has fielded the highest number of women candidates in West Bengal with a total of five candidates across the eight constituencies polling in phase four, while Congress has fielded one. Ranaghat constituency showcases maximum number of women candidates at three—all from significant political parties. Congress has fielded Minati Biswas against AITC’s 25-year-old Rupali Biswas who is a wife of slain TMC MLA Satyajit Biswas and a new entrant, and CPI-M and sitting MLA Biswas Rama. Celebrity candidate Satabdi Roy is the Trinamool Congress name from the Birbhum seat against BJP”s Dudh Kumar Mondal.

However, the state has zero women candidates who are competing in the election independently.

Similarly from Jharkhand’s three constituencies, there are no independent women candidates while 32 men independent candidates are eyeing the seats. Only two candidates are women fielded by political parties out of total 59 candidates from the state’s three constituencies. Both candidates, Anjana Bhuiyan of BSP and Sushma Mehta of CPI (ML) Liberation are contesting from Palamu constituency.

Shahdol,Madhay Pradesh, sees five female candidates

In Madhya Pradesh, BJP has field two women candidates—Riti Pathak from Sidhi and Himadri Singh, daughter of former Union minister and late Congress MP Dalbir Singh, from Shahdol. While Singh was a Congress party worker, she switched to BJP just before Lok Sabha election. Shahdol sees a tough competition among its five female candidates including Himadri, Pramila Singh from Congress, CPI’s Keshkali Kol, Meera Singh from a regional party called Chhattisgarh Vikas Ganga Rashtriya Party and independent candidate Durga. In a noteworthy turn of events, Pramila was earlier with BJP but she quit the party ahead of the assembly polls and joined Congress.

A total of 108 candidates are contesting from six constituencies of MP of which nine are women fielded by political parties and two are contesting independently.

Just three women candidates in Bihar

Bihar sees three women candidates going to poll today, including Congress’ Nilam Devi from Munger, Aam Adhikar Morcha’s Asha Devi contesting from Samastipur and independent candidate Mamta Kumari from Ujiarpur. Total number of candidates contesting from the state is 67 including 20 independent candidates. With three women candidates, the total percentage of women candidates is an abysmal 4.47% in the state in phase four.

Congress fielded the most number of women candidates that is a grand total of eight women out of 71 seats up for grabs while BJP and AITC fielded six women each.

Breaking the candidature party-wise

Congress has fielded a maximum of eight women candidates on the 71 seats up for grabs today, whereas BJP and AITC have fielded six women each, with AITC candidates concentrated only in West Bengal and Odisha. On the other hand BSP has pitched five women, BJD three and CPI only two. Close to 38% candidates have contested independently coming up to 358 in total, of which only 31 are women,including a transwoman named Paro kinner from UP’s Kheri constituency, making it 8.65% of the total number.

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