Karnataka Elections 2018 and Women Candidates
Author: Thamanna Abdul Latheef 24 Apr 2018
In India, 50% of its voters are women. But unfortunately, when it comes to getting tickets to polls, women candidates are too less in numbers. In light of Karnataka Assembly election candidates list, only 16 out of 229 Congress candidates, which is less than 7 percent of the total number, contesting for the assembly elections are women. BJP has declared six names so far and Janata Dal has four. Precisely, there are 49% women voters in the state but hardly get any poll tickets.
According to the Election Commission, the number of women voters has increased to 2.44 crore now, or about 49% of Karnataka’s 4.96 crore voters. Comparatively, there were 2.13 crore women voters in 2013 and 2.26 crore women voters during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Of Karnataka’s 30 districts, five – Raichur, Udupi, Ramanagara, Dakshin Kannada and Kodagu – have more women voters than men.
Women candidates in Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018
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.
While 16 out of 229 Congress candidates, which is less than 7 percent 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 this year.
Bharti Shetty, who heads the women’s wing of BJP in the state, says that 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.”
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.
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. Despite the fact that majority of the parties have given tickets to tainted candidates in the state, the outcry for “women empowerment” witness a standstill as they, themselves, fail to promote women candidates for elections.
By: Thamanna Abdul Latheef C
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