Assembly Elections 2018: Decline in women and Muslim candidates, says think tank
The findings are based on the data compiled by a think tank the day after the assembly elections results for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh and Telangana were declared.Updated: Dec 13, 2018 12:41 IST
There has been a marginal decline in women and Muslim representation in the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh assembly elections, the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) said on Wednesday. The research centre held the CPR-Trivedi Centre for Political Data (TCPD) Dialogue at Ashoka University a day after the assembly election results for Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, and Telangana were declared.
“The three Hindi belt states (MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh) traditionally do better in terms of women representation. Rajasthan used to be second in terms of ratio of female MLAs, Madhya Pradesh was not very far and neither was Chhattisgarh. What we see in this elections is that the overall representation of women has actually dipped a little. Over the years, there was an increase and improvement of women representation but we know that when parties are faced with very competitive elections they are reticent to what they perceive to be risks by fielding larger number of women candidates,” said Gilles Verniers, assistant professor of political science, Ashoka University, and co-director of TCPD.
According to TCPD data, percentage of women candidates who won in Rajasthan declined from 14% in 2013 to 11.6% in 2018 while women candidate percentage remained uniform at 7.9% in both election years.
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“Women representation in Madhya Pradesh show a similar kind of dip. Women candidates dipped from 13% in 2013 to 8.7% in 2018. In Chhattisgarh, there is a more stable picture. We have data on the performance of women candidates that show there is no reason to think that women make weaker candidates than men and, if we were to churn out data for those women who have been elected, it would show that they were elected with vote share as high as their male counterpart,” Verniers said.
Percentage of Muslim candidates and MLAs in the Rajasthan assembly elections also dipped from 6.5% in 2013 to 2.4% in 2018. CPR attributed the decline to the Congress, adding that it may have done so to avoid backlash from Hindu voters.
“Similarly, the representation of Muslims has been very low historically across the three states. Other states barely have any Muslim MLAs. We see that there has been a dip in Muslim candidates and that sort of confirms this newly adopted strategy of the Congress party to refrain from fielding as many Muslims as they traditionally used to do in a way to avoid having to face some Hindu backlash. No one expects BJP to distribute any tickets to Muslim candidates, so the onus is on the Congress party,” Verniers added.