Call it the women power. Women candidates have made their presence felt in the male-dominated politics of Punjab by creating a history of sorts in the 2012 assembly polls. They have notched up the highest-ever tally since 1967.
Of the total 93 women candidates in the fray, 14 have made it to the state Assembly this time. Six winners each are from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress, which had fielded 10 and 11 women candidates respectively. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which contested 23 seats, fielded three women candidates and two of them have won.
Till now, the number of women in the assembly had never touched the double-digit mark. And the previous best tally of winning women contestants was in the 2002 general polls when eight women got elected. Besides, the number of women contestants is also the highest ever and saw a sharp jump from the previous best of 71 in 2002 general polls.
Among the women candidates, Charanjit Kaur Bajwa, wife of Congress MP Partap Singh Bajwa, won with the biggest margin of 16163 votes from Qadian assembly constituency. Rajwinder Kaur of SAD had the lowest victory margin of 572 votes in Nihal Singh Wala (SC) assembly constituency.
While Congress veteran and former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal made it to the assembly from Lehra with a not-so-impressive margin of 3345 votes, Karan Kaur, the richest among all the candidates in these elections, of the Congress sailed past her nearest rival in Muktsar assembly segment by a margin of 9251 votes.
Seema Kumari of BJP is the youngest woman contestant at the age of 33 years to get elected. And she trounced her nearest rival, Balbir Ram of Congress, in Bhoa (SC) segment by a margin of 12,129 votes. While Navjot Sidhu, wife of BJP MLA and cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, has won from Amritsar (East), SAD nominee and former SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur got elected from Bholath.
The other winning women contestants are Aruna Chaudhary, Harchand Kaur, GurIqbal Kaur (all from Congres), F. Nesara Khatoon, Mohinder Kaur Josh, Harpreet Kaur Mukhmailpura and Vaninder Kaur Loomba (SAD).
However, there were some prominent women candidates including finance minister Upinderjit Kaur of SAD, Harbans Kaur Dullo, wife of ex-president of PPCC Shamsher Singh Dullo and three-time MLA Razia Sultana who lost the election.
Congress rebel Simarpreet Kaur Bhatia, who entered the fray as an Independent after being replaced by her party at the last minute, came second in Amritsar (East) with 26297 votes.