Dehradun: Only five of the 62 women candidates who contested the polls made their way to the fourth state assembly. These included three BJP candidates and two of the Congress.
The Congress had fielded eight (13% of its total candidates) while the BJP had given tickets to five (7% of total candidates) women.
From the Congress’ stable, three-time MLA Indira Hridayesh, who was the senior most cabinet minister in the Harish Rawat government, won the Haldwani seat in Nainital district by over 6,557 votes against BJP candidate and Haldwani mayor Jogendra Rautela.
Congress’ Mamta Rakesh defeated her own brother-in-law Subodh Rakesh, a BJP candidate, on Bhagwanpur seat in Haridwar district by over 2,513 votes. Wife of former BSP leader Surendra Rakesh, Mamta had won the 2015 by-election to the seat on a Congress ticket following her husband’s death.
However, all other women candidates fielded by the Congress including incumbent Nainital MLA Sarita Arya, Godavari Thapli (Mussoorie), Laxmi Rana (Rudraprayag), Ganga Pachauli (Salt), Malti Bishwas (Sitarganj) and Suneeta Bajwa (Bajpur) lost the elections.
In the BJP, Ritu Khanduri Bhushan, former chief minister BC Khanduri’s daughter won from the Yamkeshwar seat by 8,982 votes. Former Congress rebel Rekha Arya won the Someshwar seat in Almora district by over 710 votes against Congress’ Rajendra Barakoti while Meena Gangola won from Gangolihat by over 805 votes.
Former Congress turncoat Shailarani Rawat, who fought on a BJP ticket, lost and finished fourth on the Kedarnath seat in Rudraprayag district which was won by Congress’ Manoj Rawat. Former zila panchayat chairperson of Dehradun, Madhu Chauhan, lost the Chakrata seat by 1543 votes.
In the 2012 elections, only 8% of the total candidates fielded by political parties in the hill state were women. Both the Congress and the BJP had fielded seven women candidates each then.
Gfx: Women contestants & total women in assembly since 2002
Women candidates in 2002: 72
Women MLAs in 2002: 4
Women candidates in 2007: 56
Women MLAs in 2007: 4
Women candidates in 2012: 63
Women MLAs in 2012: 5
Women candidates in 2017: 62
Women MLAs in 2017: 5