Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Less than 10% of candidates are women

An analysis showed that being from a political family is an easy way to get a nomination – at least a dozen women candidates of BJP and Congress belonged to political families.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 31 May 2024, 02:31 IST
Last Updated : 31 May 2024, 02:31 IST

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New Delhi: Nearly 49 per cent of Indian voters are women which prompts mainstream parties to design a campaign around them but they do not walk the talk when it comes to giving them political representation at the national level, 2024 Lok Sabha candidate data shows.

The number of women contesting the Lok Sabha polls has seen a marginal increase to 797 (9.53%) from 726 (9.01%) five years ago but it has not even touched 10%. In 2019, there were 8,054 candidates while this time, it is 8,360.

An analysis showed that being from a political family is an easy way to get a nomination – at least a dozen women candidates of BJP and Congress belonged to political families. Five of the six women Congress candidates in Karnataka were from such a background while it was one out of two for BJP.

The lone woman candidates of Akali Dal (Harsimrat Badal) and PDP (Mehbooba Mufti) belonged to political families. Two of the six RJD candidates – Misa Bharti and Rohini Acharya – were daughters of party patriarch Lalu Prasad.

In Maharashtra, the lone woman candidate of NCP-Pawar (Supriya Sule) also belongs to a political family. One of the two women candidates of NCP in Maharashtra (Sunetra Pawar) is also from a political family.

Incidentally, a woman Congress candidate in Odisha quit the race claiming her party was not giving her funds while BJP chose to bench independent MP Sumalatha, wife of late actor-politician Ambareesh who joined the party, by giving away her seat to JD(S) top leader HD Kumaraswamy. A BJP woman candidate in Gujarat also withdrew citing infighting.

When it comes to reserved seats, the BJP has fared better than the Congress when it comes to fielding women. BJP has fielded 10 women in 84 SC reserved seats while it is six in 47 ST reserved seats. Congress has fielded women in four SC seats and three ST seats.

In this election where the main parties are banking on women-centric schemes, the BJP has fielded 69 women (15.47%) out of 446 candidates while its principal rival Congress has 44 women (13.41%) out of 328 candidates. 

Naveen Patnaik-led BJD is one of the two parties to give 33% representation by fielding seven women out of its 21 candidates. JMM was another party that had 33% women. Trinamool Congress, which fielded 40.47% or 17 women in 2019, has fielded 12 (28.57%) this time.

Samajwadi Party has fielded 11 women (17.74%) out of 62 while RJD has fielded six (26.08%) out of 23. With two women in the fray, Apna Dal (Soneylal) and NPP have given all their seats to women.
While AAP, which is in power in two states, has not fielded a single woman in its list of 22, parties like DMK (3), AIADMK (1), Shiv Sena (1), Shiv Sena-UBT (1),  CPI (1) and BRS (1) have women candidates respectively.

It is to be seen whether the increase in the number of candidates will lead to more women in Lok Sabha this time – 2019 saw a record number of 78 women MPs as against 61 in 2014 and 49 in 2004. The lowest was in 1971 when it had just 21 women MPs.

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Published 31 May 2024, 02:31 IST

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