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Lok Sabha polls 2024 | Only one female among 34 candidates in first two phases in J&K

While the percentage of women candidates in the first two phases was mere eight percent at national level, in J&K it shrunk to a meagre 2.9%.
Last Updated : 29 April 2024, 09:28 IST
Last Updated : 29 April 2024, 09:28 IST

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Srinagar: In a glaring gender disparity in the two phases of Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir, among 34 candidates only one was women.

In a society where patriarchal norms run deep and political spheres are traditionally dominated by men, the statistic is both shocking and disheartening. While the percentage of women candidates in the first two phases was mere eight percent at national level, in J&K it shrunk to a meagre 2.9 percent.

For the Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha constituency, which went to the polls on April 19, out of 12 candidates there was no female as none of the parties apparently relied on competence of the women, who constitute nearly 50 percent of the electorate.

For the Jammu seat, which went to the polls on April 26, Shikha Bandral from a lesser known National Awami United Party was the sole female among the total number of 22 candidates.

In Anantnag-Rajouri seat, which is scheduled to go for polls on May 7, two female candidates, including PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and an Independent Gulshan Akhtar are in fray among 22 aspirants.

In 2019, out of 104 candidates, who contested the just Lok Sabha polls on six seats of erstwhile state Jammu and Kashmir, only three were women. Besides Mehbooba Mufti, Ridhwana Sanam (independent) from Anantnag and Meenakshi, a Shiv Sena candidate from Udhampur constituency had contested the polls. Both Sanam and Meenakshi faded from the political scene.

In the last Assembly poll in 2014, only two candidates had made it to the legislative assembly – PDP’s Asiya Naqash and NC’s Shamima Firdous. Later Mehbooba also got elected in by-polls in 2016.

Renu Nanda, a professor at Jammu University, says it is a matter of concern that despite competing with their male counterparts in all fields and even excelling, women are not coming forward in politics.

“In male dominated society, women themselves are responsible for such negligible participation as most females lack interest as well as confidence in taking part in the politics,” she believes.

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Published 29 April 2024, 09:28 IST

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