Bihar Assembly Election 2020: A look at woman candidates in Bihar
For the past four assembly elections, there has been a steady rise in the number of women voters in Bihar. In the last state polls in 2015, 60.48 per cent women came out to vote in comparison to 53.32 per cent men and this was the highest turnout among women in Bihar. In terms of overall numbers, the total men voters in 2015 were 19 million, only slightly more than women voters which were at 18.9 million.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar has also focused on the vote bank with total prohibition implemented at the behest of women voters. The importance of the women voters has also translated into more and more women entering the election fray.
The ruling Janata Dal(United) has given tickets to 22 women out of the total 115 seats it has been allocated as part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded 12 women candidates from the 110 seats where it is contesting. In the Grand Alliance, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has fielded 16 women and the Congress has fielded seven while the Left parties just have one woman candidate.
Here’s a look at the most talked-about women candidates of the Bihar assembly elections:
Pushpam Priya Chaudhary
Pushpam Priya Chaudhary, who has a masters’ degree in development studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex and a masters’ in public administration from the London School of Economics and political science, is the daughter of former JD(U) MLC Vinod Chaudhary/ She launched her own Plurals Party and is contesting from Bisfi in Madhubani and Bankipur in Patna.
Shreyasi Singh, who is a Commonwealth Games gold medallist in shooting and an Arjuna Award winner, is the daughter of former JD(U) leader Digvijay Singh. She is the BJP candidate from the Jamui assembly constituency. The LJP chief Chirag Paswan, who represents Jamui Lok Sabha seat in Parliament, has even appealed to his supporters to vote for Shreyasi Singh, addressing her often as his younger sister.
Manju Verma who was a minister in the Nitish Kumar government but had to resign over allegations of links between her husband and Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse case of 2018, is the JD(U) candidate from Cheria Bariyarpur.
Manorama Devi, the sitting MLC from Gaya district, is the JD(U) candidate in the Bihar assembly election from the Atri constituency in Gaya district. Her late husband Bindeshwari Prasad Yadav had a reputation of a muscleman and her son had faced outrage on social media in a road rage case that had forced the JD(U) to suspend her.
Sushumalata Kushwaha is contesting as JD(U) candidate from Jagdishpur seat in Bhojpur district in the Bihar Assembly Election 2020. She is a panchayat head in a Bhojhpur village called Dawa and has earned a reputation of developing her panchayat into a model one.
Ritu Jaiswal, the RJD candidate from Parihar seat in Sitamarhi, has been a mukhiya and was recently conferred with the Flame Leadership Award, 2019, by the rural marketing association of India. In 2018, she was also conferred the Champions of Change Award by vice president Venkaiah Naidu.
Congress has fielded Subhashini Yadav from the Bihariganj seat in Madhepura. She is the daughter of veteran socialist leader Sharad Yadav. She joined the party recently and is a social worker.
Other important women candidates in the fray are the LJP’s Usha Vidhyarthi who is an ex-parliamentarian, the RJD’s Dr Ejya Yadav who is an academician, Amita Bhushan from the Congress who is a known social worker, the JD(U)’s Shagufta Azim from Araria, who is the daughter of former RJD leader Iliyas Hussain, the JD(U)’s Anjum Ara from Dumraon seat, the BJP’s Renu Devi from Bettiah and Rashmi Verma, also from BJP, from Narkatiyaganj.
Although the number of women MLAs in 2015 reduced to 28 from 34 who were elected in 2010, it remains to be seen how women candidates perform at the polls this time. The first phase of polling on 71 out of the 243 assembly seats in the state is scheduled on October 28, the second phase of polls for 94 seats will be held on November 3 and the third phase of polling for 78 seats will be held on November 7. Results will be announced on November 10.