Only 28 Raj women have ever been elected to LS

Gayathri Devi

Even though 2.3 crore registered women voters are all set to vote for the Lok Sabha polls, only 28 women in the last six decades have entered the Lok Sabha from the desert state.

The first woman from Rajasthan to be elected to the Lok Sabha was the erstwhile royal Rajmata Gayatri Devi of the Jaipur royal family.

She was elected from the Jaipur parliamentary seat in 1962. Gayatri Devi, who remained MP for three consecutive terms in 1962, 1967 and 1971 represented the Swatantra Party, which was founded by C Rajgopalachari.

Six decades later, Gayatri Devi's granddaughter and former BJP MLA Diya Kumari is the contender for the Lok Sabha from the Jaipur Urban or Sawai Madhopur.

Following the footsteps of Gayatri Devi, Krishna Kumari, a member of the erstwhile Jodhpur royal family, contested and was elected to Parliament as an independent candidate in 1971.

Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was an MP five times from the Jhalawar seat from 1989 to 1999 till she became the chief minister for the first time in 2008.

In the Congress party, Girija Vyas was the MP for four times while Nirmala Devi won twice from the Chittorgarh seat.

While the Congress party had promised to bring Women's Reservation Bill in the first session of Parliament itself if it is elected to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the women lawmakers have kept their fingers crossed until they see more women being given tickets from the state.

"Rajasthan has just 25 seats and when it comes to distribution, either caste, religion or other issues are taken into consideration. Women's participation is equally important because in the Parliament, because then they will have the power to pass any important women-centric bill", a senior women congress leader told DH.

In Rajasthan, while both the BJP and Congress are yet to announce names, the female candidates are hoping to see an increase in their numbers.

The national average of women in state Assemblies and state councils (upper house of the state legislatures) are 9% and 5%, respectively.

The other erstwhile female members of royal family in the BJP who made it to Parliament are Mahendra Kumari from Alwar, Krishnendra Kaur from Bharatpur and Vasundhare Raje from Jhalawar.

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Only 28 Raj women have ever been elected to LS

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