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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Jharkhand Assembly Election 2019: Women voters hold key on 10 of 28 tribal seats

Of 28 tribal seats in state, number of women voters is higher than men voters on 10 tribal seats; experts say tribal women have become more active in political activities.

assembly-elections Updated: Nov 07, 2019 09:55 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Women voting percentage was higher in 20 assembly seats, including 13 reserved for tribal, of the 81 seats during the Lok Sabha polls in Jharkhand.
Women voting percentage was higher in 20 assembly seats, including 13 reserved for tribal, of the 81 seats during the Lok Sabha polls in Jharkhand.(HT photo)

Political parties are eying on women voters in tribal constituencies where their numbers are more than male voters in the state electoral roll or their participation was higher than their counterparts at polling stations during the parliamentary polls held in summer.

Women voters may call the shots in deciding fate of candidates on 10 tribal seats of the 28 in the 81-seat assembly in upcoming state polls, as they have outnumbered the male voters in these seats.

With 51.09% female voters, Majhgaon assembly constituency in tribal-dominated West Singhbhum district registered highest number of women voters compared to male. The constituency registered 97,512 female voters against 93,338 male voters, as per the revised electoral roll.

Similarly, Littipara constituency in Pakur district has enrolled 100,215 women voters against 97,175 male voters. Other eight constituencies those have registered more women voters than men are Chaibasa with 50.62%, Khunti 50.44%, Shikaripara 50.22%, Simdega 50.21%, Maheshpur 50.09%, Kharswan 50.08%, Manoharpur 50.07% and Ghatsila 50.01%.

Interestingly, of these 10 constituencies, seven assembly constituencies had recorded higher women voters’ turn up during Lok Sabha polls.

Women voting percentage was higher in 20 assembly seats, including 13 reserved for tribal, of the 81 seats during the Lok Sabha polls in Jharkhand.

Election officials said all 10 constituencies, where numbers of women voters are more than male voters, are tribal-dominated. Generally, gender equality is seen in tribal community. Women of this community are equally active as men, they said. Besides, they also worked on gender equality in the electoral roll.

“There were 925 women voters per 1,000 male voters in electoral rolls till few months back. We launched a campaign to minimise the gender gap. Because of which the gender gap has now reduced to 947 women voters per 1,000 men voters in just two months. In some constituencies, we have recorded more female voters than male,” said Vinay Kumar Choubey, chief electoral officer (CEO).

Political experts said tribal women are more politically active. Their participations in recent elections have increased manifold.

“Tribal women’s participation have increased for many reasons, including their decision-making power at home, being active in gram sabha meetings and their discussions on local issues,” said Sudhir Pal, state coordinator of National Election Watch (NEW), a nationwide campaign on electoral reforms, improving democracy and governance in India.

Political parties are making strategy to bring this chunk of votes in their fold during the upcoming polls.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said tribal women have become empowered due to the schemes and policies of the ruling BJP government. “Several schemes such as free LPG connections, property registration at ₹1 and Sakhi Mandal concept have been huge popular among women. So, we go with these achievements to seek their votes this election,” said Pratul Shahdeo, BJP spokesperson.

“Checking migration of tribal girl or women has been a challenge in Jharkhand and it has increased in BJP regime. If we come to power under leadership of Babulal Marandi, tribal girls and women would be trained in their trades and they would be provided jobs here in Jharkhand,” said Sunita Singh, JVM-P spokesperson.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has also planned schemes to woo tribal women. “Women empowerment will be our prime focus, if we come to power,” said Supriyo Bhattacharya, JMM general secretary.