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Fewer women candidates make it to Assam assembly this time

Guwahati: Eight women candidates have been elected to the new Assam legislative assembly which is six less than the 14 figure in the last House. Women representatives will thus comprise only 6.35 per cent of the 126-member house, lower than the 11.1 per cent in the last assembly. A higher turn out of women was, however, witnessed with 84.81 per cent of the total 92,09,928 female voters exercising their franchise in the just concluded polls.
The Congress, which gave tickets to 16 members, has the highest number of three representatives which include PWD Minister and sitting Golaghat MLA Ajanta Neog and two new faces – Roselina Tirkey from Sarupathar and Nandita Das from Boko who made it to the new assembly. All the sitting women Congress MLAs, including two outgoing ministers – Bismita Gogoi and Sumitra Patir, who were given tickets lost the polls.
The newly elected BJP government gave tickets to six female candidates with only two – Angoorlata Deka from Batadrava and Suman Haripriya from Hajo making it to the state assembly.
The BPF gave tickets solely to its sitting women candidates – Pramila Rani Brahma from Kokrajhar(East) and Kamali Basumatari from Panery and they retained both the seats.
The AGP which had no women representative in the last assembly had given tickets to only two women with former Deputy Speaker Renupama Rajkhowa winning the Teok seat. The AIUDF had one representative in the last assembly but not a single woman candidate managed to win a seat though it had put up five candidates.
Most of the major parties gave less tickets to women in this election with Congress giving tickets to 16 candidates as against 19 in 2011.
The BJP gave tickets to only six women candidates as against nine in 2011 and its alliance partner – the AGP also put up less candidates with only two as against eight in the last polls while its other partner BPF’s number had also gone down to two from three. There is one female candidate each from CPI-M, CPIM(L), Samajwadi Party, All India Trinamool Congress and the United People’s Party while the SUCI has fielded three women candidates. There are 30 independent candidates in the fray while the remaining contestants are from unrecognised parties.
This is the first time since 1985 that the number of elected women candidates has declined from the previous poll as a steady rise was always maintained. In 1985, three women candidates were elected which went upto five in 1991, to eight in 1996, ten in 2001, 13 in 2006 and 14 in 2011. Out of the total 1064 candidates, an abysmally low of 91 women candidates – 43 in the first phase and 48 in the second, comprising a mere 8.6 per cent of the total candidates had contested in the just concluded polls. (PTI)

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