In Arunachal, women contest only on 6 Assembly seats

In Arunachal, women contest only on 6 Assembly seats

In Arunachal, women contest only on 6 Assembly seats

The women form the majority of the electorate in Arunachal Pradesh but when it comes to contesting elections the numbers are at the odds with their population, with only 6 of them joining the fray for the ensuing Lok Sabha polls and Assembly elections.

The state has 3,77,272 women electorate against 3,75,898 males, with several assembly constituencies having more women voters than males.

The are in fray in only six Assembly seats in the state and in none of the two Lok Sabha seats.

Arunachal will hold simultaneous polls for the 60-member Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats in the second phase of voting on April 9.

Congress has this time fielded two women candidates - Karya Bagang (Chayangtajo) and Gum Tayeng from Dambuk constituencies compare to none from the BJP.

NCP has fielded Taba Nirmali (Yachuli) and the People's Party of Arunachal has nominated Toko Sheetal for the prestigious Itanagar LS seat.

Yai Mara (Likabali) and Anita Payeng (Lekang) are contesting as independents.

The limited participation of women has irked the chairperson of Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women chairperson Gumri Ringu.

"All political parties before election assure to provide opportunity to women but the real scenario changes when time comes," she said while lamenting that in the male-dominated Arunachalee society, women were always neglected.

She also blamed the fair sex for not coming out of their homes to participate in the electoral process.

National Alliance of Women secretary Jarjum Ete, however, said the sudden dissolution of the house on March 6 was the reason behind the low participation of women candidates.

"The sudden dissolution of the house 6 months ahead of the schedule forced the aspiring women candidates to keep away from joining the fray as they did not get time to gear up," Ete said adding their financial condition also deterred several candidates.

Toko Sheetal, the PPA candidate for Itanagar Assembly constituency agreed that there were few women in active politics.

According to Kesang Degi, Associate Professor of Education at the Rajiv Gandhi University here, it was the patriarchal society of Arunachal that was to be blamed.

"There is less awareness among the women about their rights and Arunachal being a male-dominated state, they feel shy and nervous about contesting polls," says Degi, a Monpa tribal.

Lisa Lomdak, an assistant professor at the Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies under the Rajiv Gandhi University, is of the opinion that the Arunachalee society and families are still not ready to accept women taking on a bigger role.

"Our society does not want to take the risk of allowing women to go for leadership as it feels it could jeopardise domestic life," says Lomdak.

Her colleague Jumyir Basar said electoral politics is still a far cry for women in Arunachal Pradesh.

"The social set-up has been such that traditionally decision-making was almost entirely a male bastion for ages. Thus, though modernity and education have arrived, the society is probably not yet ready to accept women leaders," said Basar, who belongs to the Galo tribe of West Siang district.

There are no property rights for women in tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh. "If a lady contests election she will need money. But from where will she get it?" Basar rued