32 Women elected to Bihar assembly

Despite accounting for nearly half of the total 5.50 crore electorate, women emerged only a pale shadow of their strength in the male-dominated political landscape of Bihar.
If the four major political players - the ruling JD(U), BJP, Congress, RJD and LJP, besides major left parties are be taken into account, then the women candidates in fray were just around 90.

JD(U) and BJP fielded maximum 24 and 11 women candidates, despite the two major NDA allies setting a model by providing for 50 per cent reservation for women in the Panchayati Raj Institutions and Civic bodies.

RJD and LJP opposing the passage of the Women's reservation Bill in the present form and favouring a quota within quota, put up six and seven candidates, respectively. The Congress which contesting all 243 assembly seats in Bihar fielded 23 women, while the major Left parties -- CPI, CPI-M and CPI-ML (Liberation) fielded three, two and 11, respectively.

This only speaks of the roadblocks in the progress of women. For them, their secured domain still remains their home and not the battlefield of polity, social activist Nivedita remarks. Curiously, this remains a paradox. If one hand women have done fairly well and climbed the ladder of success, on the other hand they are mute sufferers of the violence afflicted on them by their own family members, she says.

Excepting for an Independent Jyoti Rashmi, who won from Dehri, rest 32 women candidates who came out with flying colours are from JD-U (22) and BJP (10).
This is the best performance by the women in the last 11 elections in Bihar, nine more than in 2005 when they had won 25.

In 1957 assembly election also 34 women were elected to the state legislature. Else woman legislators have always numbered 15 or less since 1962.
In 2000 assembly polls, the total number of women legislators in the house was 15, 12 in 1995, 13 in 1990, 15 in 1985, 13 each in 1980, 1977 and 1972, just four in 1969, 10 in 1967 and 25 in 1962.

Riding the crest of the NDA's wave, were JD(U)'s Praveen Amanullah, Bima Bharati, Lessi Singh, Guljar Devi, Punam Devi, Neeta Choudhary, Guddi Devi, Ranju Gita, Jagmato Devi, Manorma Devi, Annu Shukla, Manju Verma, Usha Sinha, Jyoti Devi, Renu Kumari, Meena Dwivedi, Razia Khatoon, Poonam Devi Yadav, Purnima Yadav, Sujata Devi, Manju Hazari, Amla Devi and Sunita emerged victorious.

Similarly, BJP's Sukhda Pandey, Asha Devi, Renu Devi, Bhagirathi Devi, Devyanti Yadav, Dilmarni Devi, Asha Devi, Usha Vidyarthi, Munni Devi and Veena Devi romped to victory. Not not a single woman candidate of other political parties, including RJD, Congress, LJP, besides Left parties could win the elections.

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