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Himachal Pradesh elections: Kotkhai case, a poll issue only for politicos

The women voter turnout in Theog, Chopal and Jubbal Kotkhai assembly segments remained low, with some citing domestic chores as the reason for staying home instead of coming out to vote.

assembly elections Updated: Nov 12, 2017 10:48 IST
Saurabh Chauhan
Saurabh Chauhan
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Himachal Pradesh Assembly election 2017,Himachal assembly polls 2017,Prem Kumar Dhumal
Following the Kotkhai rape and murder case, it was expected that the issue of safety would lead women in these regions to come out in huge numbers to excercise their franchise.(HT File)

Contrary to the state’s overall trend of women voters outnumbering male voters, the female voter turnout in Theog, Chopal and Jubbal Kotkhai assembly segments remained lower than men.

Following the Kotkhai rape and murder case, it was expected that the issue of safety would lead women in these regions to come out in huge numbers to excercise their franchise. The opposition too, left no stone unturned to attack the ruling party over the issue. But in some areas, women cited domestic chores as the reason for staying home instead of coming out to vote.

Shimla deputy commissioner Rohan Chand Thakur said the administration carried out several campaigns to reach out to women.

In Jubbal and Kotkhai, the male voter turnout was 82.35% but the women voter turnout was 78.13%. In Theog, the male voting percentage was 75.52 while that of women was. Similarly, in Chopal the women voter turnout was 73.07% against 76.90% men. In Shimla district, the women voter turnout remained more than men only Shimla (urban) and Shimla (rural). The overall voter turnout for Shimla district was 72.66% votes with 73.70% men and 71.56% women coming out to vote.

After the heinous rape and murder of a Class-10 girl, the region fumed with anger and several protests were held across the district. The first protest broke out in Theog, followed by a chain of protests in Kotkhai, Shimla and other parts of districts. But when it came to come out and elect a government, women opted to carry on with their traditional responsibilities.

“There were several other issues including personnel rapport and development. Since the investigation is still on the Kotkhai rape and murder case, it was not a big issue. But it does not mean, people have forgotten it,” said Hriday Okta, a Kotkhai resident.

“We can’t say the case was not an issue but since the probe is on and the CBI is also taking time in the investigation, most of people are in wait and watch mode,” said Sheetala Devi, a resident of Theog assembly segment. “Women safety is an issue but women have responsibilities too. In nuclear families, women have to look after elderly family members, besides doing other chores,”

Even as the apple harvesting season has come to an end, women in some parts of the region are busy mowing grass. “Sometimes women do not take voting seriously. It may be due to lack of awareness,” said a local election officer, requesting anonymity.

Shimla deputy commissioner Rohan Chand Thakur said the administration carried out several campaigns to reach out to women. “We have succeeded upto some extant. Other factors will also be kept in mind for future,” he said.

Rohit Sharma, a social worker, said Gudiya was an issue but there was no one to vote against in this case. “Who is the culprit? Had the CBI indicted cops, people could have voted against the state government but here people are waiting for CBI to come out with its conclusion report,” he said.

First Published: Nov 12, 2017 10:41 IST