In the newly formed assembly, Maharashtra has elected only 11 women MLAs — less than 5 per cent of the total seats. The tally is down by one compared with the 2004 assembly polls. And the blame lies on the political parties who offered less number of tickets to women contenders during this elections.
Of the total 3,559 candidates, there were only 211 women candidates, with only 42 of the 211 from the five major political parties — Congress, NCP, BJP, Shiv Sena and MNS.
The women candidates elected in this election are — Shiv Sena’s Meera Rege, BJP’s Pankaja Palve-Munde and Madhuri Misal, NCP’s Vimal Mundada and Shamal Bagal. Congress’ MLAs include Praniti Shinde, Varsha Gaikwad, Nirmala Gavit, Yashomati Thakur and Annie Shekhar, while Peasant and Workers Party’s candidate Meenakshi Patil won.
Social workers and feminists are concerned about this trend. “This shows that political parties are not at all concerned about issues related to women, which accounts 50 % of total votes”, said Vidyut Bhagawat, former head of Pune University's Women Study center and author of “Feminist Social Thought”.
“Through my NGO Jai-Jui, I have been working for women and will continue to take up their issues in the assembly”, said Praniti Shinde elected from Solapur Central.