In Pataudi, still predominantly a rural area, women don’t make independent electoral decisions and depend on their male family members to tell them whom to vote for.
Despite Gurgaon having the maximum number of female voters in the state, when asked about the candidate they favour, most women did not have any opinion of their own. Moreover, they were not even aware of the names of the candidates contesting from different parties.
Busy with wheat and mustard lavani, the local name given to the harvesting of crops, women in rural Pataudi believe that holding a political opinion is of no consequence to them personally.
“It doesn’t matter to us who wins or loses in the elections. Our husband or father-in-law tells us whom to vote for a day before the elections,” said Kripa Devi from Sidhrawali.
The decades-old trend in villages here is that the women in the family are told which button to press, a day before the elections. Incidentally, women constitute 46.5% of the total voters in Pataudi constituency.
“In rural areas, the social current is the essence of electoral behaviour and entire villages usually make a collective decision, irrespective of whether they are male or female. Besides, the female turnout in rural areas is always more than that in the urban areas,” said Vivek Kalia, sub divisional magistrate (south), Gurgaon. He added that the secret ballot system should ensure that anybody can make their willful decision and vote.