In six decades, undivided DK has seen only 6 women MLAs

In six decades, undivided DK has seen only 6 women MLAs

Though the number of female voters outnumber male voters in undivided Dakshina Kannada district, only six women have entered the Assembly from undivided Dakshina Kannada district since the 1957 Assembly elections.

In fact, less than 50 women candidates have contested the elections so far, of which a majority of them contested as independent candidates rather than being backed by political parties.

Those who won the elections are Leelavathi Rai, Winnie Fernandes, Manorama Madhwaraj, Eddie Saldanha, Shakunthala Shetty and Mallika Prasad.

In the 2018 Assembly elections, only six women candidates are contesting.

They are Shakunthala Shetty (Cong) from Puttur, Sumathi Hegde (JDS) from Belthangady, Reena Pinto (Ind) from Moodbidri and Mangaluru South, Shabana Sheik (MEP) from Puttur, Vidyasri S (Ind) from Puttur and former DySP Anupama Shenoy (Bharatiya Janashakti Congress) from Kaup. Chandrakala of KJP was the only candidate to contest from the reserve Sullia constituency in 2013.

Going by the history, Congress candidate Leelavathi Rai from Bantwal and Winnie Fernandes of Kundapur from Praja Socialist Party were the first women from this region to become MLAs in 1967.

Leelavathi Rai had secured 20,347 votes while Winnie F Fernandes secured 18,881 votes.

In 1972, along with Winnie from Kundapura, Manorama Madhwaraj from Udupi and Eddie Saldanha from Mangalore 1 had won the election.

Winnie had secured 18,776 votes, Manorama —26,020 votes while Eddy Saldanha—21,444 votes. Later, Manorama Madhwaraj won in 1978, 1985, 1989 and also served as the first woman minister from the coastal belt.

The present Puttur sitting MLA Shakunthala Shetty had contested from Bantwal constituency twice on a BJP ticket in 1994 and 1999 and lost the election.

Later, in 2004, she won the election from Puttur on a BJP ticket. In 2008, she contested as an Independent candidate following a fraction in the BJP. In 2013, she won from Puttur as a Congress candidate.

In 1957 and 1962, Laura Pais from Mangalore 1 had contested as an Independent candidate. In 1972, Louella Lobo had contested from SWA from Mangalore II. In 1978, Sharada Achar in Mangalore from JNP had polled 25,344 votes and was in the second position.

Eddie Saldanha (INC) from Mangalore 1 and Garty Suvarna, an Independent candidate from Ullal too had contested.

In Udupi, Yashoda S Armugham had contested as an independent candidate while in Kundapur Winnie F Fernandes had contested from INC.

In 1983, only two women candidates—Janet Lobo (Ind) from Kaup and Manorama Madhwaraj (Cong) from Udupi had contested but lost the election.

In 1985, five women candidates Lokeshwari Vinayachandra (INC) from Belthangady, Judith Mascarenhas (JNP) from Mangalore, Manorama Madhwaraj (INC) from Udupi, Sara S Amin (Ind) from Udupi, and Girija (Ind) from Baindoor had contested and only Manorama had won the election. However, Lokeshwari Vinayachandra (INC) could secure 27,048 votes and was placed in the second position.

In 1989, Manorama Madhwaraj (won) from Udupi and Usha Bijoor (Ind) candidate Baindoor had contested.

In 1994, five women candidates namely Shantha (Ind) from Belthangady, Shakunthala Shetty (BJP) from Bantwal, Benedicta D’Souza (KCP), Blanch Carnelio (Ind) from Kaup and Manorama Madhwaraj (Cong) from Udupi had contested.

In the previous election in 2013, five candidates—Surayya Banu (JDS) from Byndoor, K P Padmavathi (Ind) from Karkala, Chandravathi (KJP from Sullia), Shakunthala Shetty (Cong) from Puttur and Rajashree Hegde (JDS) from Belthangady had contested.