No fair ground for the fair sex in Bengal

Updated on May 15, 2004 09:53 PM IST

Mamata Banerjee has been pushed to a corner as the lone anti-left female crusader in West Bengal, but that's not the end of bad news for women in the Red Citadel, known for its progressive outlook towards the fair sex.

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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Kolkata

Mamata Banerjee has been pushed to a corner as the lone anti-left female crusader in West Bengal, but that's not the end of bad news for women in the Red Citadel, known for its progressive outlook towards the fair sex.

If the recent trend is anything to go by, women representation from the state to the Lok Sabha has seen a decline -- from about 12 per cent in 1998 to less than 10 per cent in the just concluded polls.

More alarming is the success rate of contesting women candidates. Five women were elected out of 21 in the fray in 1998, constituting a success rate of about 24 per cent.

But just a year later, out of 26 women trying their luck at the hustings in 1999 for the 42 Lok Sabha seats from the state, only five made it to the lower house of Parliament -- a success percentage of 19.2.

This time around, however, Banerjee and her ilk had the toughest year in recent times, managing to clinch only four berths, despite 33 of them being in the fray.

The Lok Sabha elections, 2004, brought down the eves' success rate drastically to 11.7 per cent.

Besides the NTC chief, who held on to her traditional stronghold of Calcutta South albeit with a disturbingly leaner victory margin, CPI(M)'s star candidate Jyotirmoyee Sikdar replicated her success on the tracks by humbling union minister Satyabrata Mukherjee of BJP from Krishnagar.

The other two women winners were Minati Sen (CPI-M) from Jalpaiguri and Susmita Bauri of the same party from Vishnupur.

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