When Punjab goes to polls on February 4th, 1,145 candidates will battle it out for 117 seats. We looked at the final list of candidates and broke down the trends for you.
1. More people are contesting elections
The number of people contesting elections has seen a six percent increase since the last elections.
While the maximum number of contestants in a constituency can be seen in Sanour, Fatehgarh Sahib and Khem Karan have the least number of candidates at 5.
2. Fewer women are contesting elections
In Ghanaur, a constituency in Patiala, political competition is thrives irrespective of gender. In this constituency, four women will battle it out against four men in this year’s polls. But Ghanaur is an anomaly. The state of Punjab, known for its low sex ratio, has otherwise seen a decrease in the number of female candidates.
This year, 81 women are contesting in the Punjab polls. With a total of 1,145 nominees, that brings the percentage of female participants to 7.07%.
That is a significant fall from last year, when the percentage of female contestants was to 8.6% - the highest in history. That also reflected in the elected legislative assembly. With 14 female MLAs, the state saw female candidates in double digits, for the first time.
3. More than half of the constituencies don’t even have a woman contestant
Only 51 constituencies have at least one female candidate. That is a decrease from 2012’s figure of 67 such constituencies.
4. Most of the candidates are in the 35 - 50 age bracket
Similar to previous years, about 40% of the candidates are aged between 35-50. However, according to data from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the percentage of candidates older than 50 has seen an increase since 2012.
At 25, there are eight candidates that are tied for the youngest contenders. The oldest at 89, is current Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal. The oldest woman is Upinderjit Kaur, 77, also of the Shiromani Akali Dal.
5. Congress and BJP/SAD are fielding candidates from all seats
While Congress and BJP/SAD are fielding candidates from all setas, the new player - Aam Aadmi Party, has put 112 candidates up in the polls. The party is skipping six constituencies including Kartarpur, Phagwada and Majitha. BSP, unlike 2012, is not putting candidates on all 117 seats.
6. Fewer independents this time
The percentage of candidates that are Independents has also reduced over the years. With 303 Independent candidates going to polls this year, only 26.5% of the candidates are not affiliated with a party. Last elections, a total of 418 candidates contested.