Women voters win Himachal’s turnout battle - Hindustan Times
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Women voters win Himachal’s turnout battle

By, Dharamshala
Jun 06, 2024 02:05 PM IST

Despite poor female candidate representation, women voter turnout in Himachal surpassed men in 3 out of 4 constituencies. Overall votes increased by 5.28%.

The poor representation among Lok Sabha candidates in Himachal notwithstanding, women voter turnout came out in droves to register their choice, surpassing the men’s voters turnout in three out of the four parliamentary constituencies.

Women voters lined up outside a polling booth in Kullu, Himachal Pardesh. (HT Photo)
Women voters lined up outside a polling booth in Kullu, Himachal Pardesh. (HT Photo)

In Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra, the percentage of women voters was higher than their male counterparts.

In Hamirpur, 5,38,886 women voters cast their ballots compared to 48,6338 male voters. Similarly, 5,31,434 female voters cast their ballots in Kangra compared to 4,88,589 male voters. In Mandi, from where actor-turned-politician and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kangana Ranaut secured her first electoral victory, 5,03,173 female voters came out to vote, which was higher than 4,94,657 male voters.

Notably, the overall votes polled in 2024 increased by 5.28% in Himachal compared to 2019. Nearly 72% votes were polled in the state during this year’s Lok Sabha elections. The number of female voters increased from 19,36,405 in 2019 to 20,31,760 in this year’s elections.

Professor Harish Kumar Thakur of the Himachal Pradesh University’s political science department said the trend indicates the BJP’s policies have significantly appealed to the women voters.

“This might also be due to the benefits women have received from pan-Indian welfare policies such as Ujjwala, Ayushman Bharat, and other women-friendly schemes. Additionally, Kangana’s candidacy could have been a factor, especially in Mandi, as women in Himachal may have felt proud that the BJP nominated a woman, who is popular among youth, for the Lok Sabha seat,” he said.

Nahan record highest turnout

In the Lok Sabha polls, Nahan assembly constituency in Sirmaur district recorded the highest voter turnout at 79.82% in the state, while Jaisinghpur assembly constituency in Kangra district recorded the lowest turnout of 62.38%. Nahan also recorded the highest male voter turnout of 81.49% in the state.

Among the assembly constituencies, Kutlehar recorded the highest female voter turnout of 81.06% in Lok Sabha elections. Also, in 17 assembly constituencies of the state, the turnout of third gender voters was 100%.

How did women candidates fare?

Of the 37 total candidates who were in fray from four parliamentary constituencies in Himachal, only three were women. Leading the rather dismal number was Kangana, who registered victory in Mandi.

The other two women candidates were Rekha Chaudhary of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), who contested from Kangra seat, and Rakhee Gupta, who fought as an independent from Mandi.

While Ranaut won over Congress’ Vikramaditya Singh with a margin of 75,000 odd votes, the other two female candidates did not perform well in the elections. Chaudhary, who polled only 7,753 votes, secured the third spot in Kangra, while Gupta only polled 1,051 votes and was placed fifth in Mandi.

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