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Women voters may call the shots in four Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand

In the 2014 general elections, these seats saw a bigger turnout of female voters than male voters.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 15, 2019 16:09 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
women voters in jharkhand,women voters,voter list
Of the 2.19 crore total voters in Jharkhand, the number of female voters is more than 1.04 crore, which is 47.65% of the electorate.(Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times)

Female voters may call the shots in four Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand, going by the voting trends in these seats in the 2014 general elections. The seats in question are Dumka, Koderma, Lohardaga, and Palamu. The male-female turnout was almost equal in Singhbhum in the 2014 general elections.

In view of the substantial participation by female voters in the past few elections, political parties are leaving no stone unturned to woo this section. In 2014, Palamu saw 60.05% of the district’s total female voters turning up to exercise their franchise, while 58.8% of the total male voters came to the booths. In the other three districts, the figures were: 63.4% women and 61.4% men in Koderma; 71.69% women and 71.1% men in Dumka; and 58.82% women and 57.87% men in Lohardaga. In Singhbhum, female voters’ turnout was 68.88%, almost equal to the male voters’ turnout of 69.28%.

Sudhir Pal, state co-ordinator of National Election Watch (NEW), a nationwide campaign on electoral reforms, improving democracy and governance in India, said, “We have seen in the past that women’s participation in the poll process increased where women’s organisations or women’s self-help groups were mobilised by the political parties and the Election Commission.”

In Lohardaga and Dumka, women are socially and financially active. “So, higher women participation in these two constituencies has been a trend. Similarly, women candidates of different political parties have been active in Koderma,” said Pal. “Women’s participation is likely to increase further in these elections, as women’s organisations have been empowered across the state by the government.”

Of the 2.19 crore total voters in Jharkhand, the number of female voters is more than 1.04 crore, which is 47.65% of the electorate.

Activists fighting for women’s rights in Jharkhand have demanded 50% reservation for women from different political parties. “Even as women play a crucial role in the poll process, political parties take women for granted. They ignore women candidates when it comes to ticket distribution,” said Dayamani Barla, activist and state convener of Adivasi Moolvasi Astitwa Raksha Manch.

She alleged that no government in Jharkhand had as yet come out with a policy for women that could stop their migration for jobs and promote their health and education. “Now, women are in a decisive position and they could teach a lesson to any political party,” said Barla.

Jharkhand Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo said, “The BJP has done lots of things for women in the past five years. Various schemes such as free LPG connection, property registration facility at Re 1 and free cow scheme for BPL women were launched. So, we hope to get women’s support for the BJP in these election.”

Congress spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan said, “The Congress party has been in favour of a women’s bill. We had fielded a good number of women candidates in civic body polls in Jharkhand. The party has been struggling for women’s issues, such as migration.”

Meanwhile, the chief electoral officer in Ranchi has chalked out several measures to increase women’s participation in voting. “We have planned all-women poling stations where all staff handling polling will be women. All the districts have been asked to dedicate some of the polling stations to women. Besides, assured minimum facilities such as toilets, drinking water supplies, and sheds are also being arranged in polling stations to increase the voting percentage,” said additional CEO Vinay Kumar Choubey.

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 16:09 IST