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Only 139 female candidates in the race out of a total of 1,621 contestants, 38 of them from three major parties

Even though women make up nearly 50 percent of voters in Gujarat, the number of female candidates contesting next month’s parliamentary elections is not very encouraging as only 139 of them are in contention among a whopping 1,621 contenders for 182 seats.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress have continued their tradition of offering tickets to only a handful of women, yet the number of such candidates they fielded this time is higher than in the 2017 elections.

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The BJP has fielded tickets to 18 female candidates up from 12 in 2017, while the Congress has fielded 14 women, though that figure was 10 in the last parliamentary election. The two parties have also accommodated more female candidates from Dalit and tribal communities this time around.

Congress candidate from Sayajigunj seat in Vadodara Ami Ravat said women’s representation will rise when the bill providing for 33 percent reservation for women in parliament is passed, while Dipikaben Sarvada, head of BJP’s women’s wing, said her party already did by holding key positions, including that of the president, for women.

According to the data made available by the Election Commission, there are a total of 1,621 candidates running in next month’s Gujarat elections, which will be held in two phases – on December 1 and 5. Of them, there are 139 female candidates, 56 of them as candidates. independents.

In 2017, there were 126 female candidates out of a total of 1,828 participants. That year, Gujarat sent 13 female candidates to the General Assembly. This included nine from BJP and four from Congress. As many as 104 female participants had their deposits forfeited, EC data showed.

Congressman Ravat said by phone to PTI: “Our party has introduced a bill in parliament for a 33 percent reservation for women, which the BJP has not accepted. The Congress involved women in India’s struggle for independence at a time when they could not leave their homes.” Even in developed countries, women had to fight for their right to vote, she said.

BJP’s Sarvada said the way BJP has represented women at every level shows that the party takes their welfare seriously.

“Today, 18 of our sisters have been given the opportunity to participate in the elections, and they will have the opportunity to sit in the state cabinet in the coming days. One of them will be Minister of Women and Child Development,” she said.

Sarvada said only the BJP will work to give more representation to women in the near future.

She said Congress’s demand for 33 percent reservations for women in assemblies and Lok Sabha will be unfair to male party operatives.

“The number of male party employees is greater and they should be given a good chance. So this kind of reservation is not necessary,” she said.

Among other parties, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has fielded its candidates on all 182 – one of whom withdrew from the race – has given tickets to only six female candidates and three of them are in Scheduled Tribe (ST ) -reserved seats.

The All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which is competing for 13 seats, has given tickets to two women, including one from the Muslim community and another from the Dalit community. It has lined up a Zainabbibi Shaikh from Vejalpur and Kaushikaben Parmar from Danilimda. Both seats are located in the city of Ahmedabad.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded 13 female candidates for the upcoming polls. It is fighting for 101 seats.

The BJP has scrapped five out of nine incumbent MLAs and reiterated four: Malti Maheshwari of Gandhidham Reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC), Gita Jadeja of Gondal, Sangita Patil of Asarwa and Manisha Vakil of SC Reserved Vadodara City seats.

Congress, on the other hand, has reiterated two of its four MLAs for women. Asha Patel, who had won from Unjha as a congressional candidate and later defected to the BJP, died due to health complications.

The candidates repeated by the Congress are Geniben Thakor of Vav and Chandrika Baria of ST reserved seat of Garbada.

On a positive note, both parties fielded more female Dalit and Tribal candidates in reserved constituencies this time compared to 2017.

As against two women on SC reserved seats and one on ST reserved seats in 2017, the BJP has fielded four and two respectively for the upcoming elections.

In Morva Hadaf, an ST reserved seat, the main participants of BJP and Congress are women.

The number has also increased for the congress. From one female candidate on ST reserved seat and none on SC reserved seat, Congress has one SC and four ST reserved seats for the 2022 election.

Among the national parties, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has also given the ticket to a female candidate.

The BJP has fielded female candidates from SC reserved seats from Gandhidham, Rajkot Rural, Asarwa and Vadodara City, and ST reserved seats from Nandod and Morva Hadaf.

The ruling party has sent women from Wadhwan, Rajkot West, Gondal, Jamnagar North, Limbayat, Bayad, Naroda, Thakkarbapa Nagar, Patan, Kutiyana, Bhavnagar East, Patan and Gandhinagar North.

The BJP has expelled the wife of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja, Rivaba from Jamnagar North, and Payal Kukrani, who is the daughter of Naroda Patiya riot case convict Manoj Kukrani, from Naroda. The Congress has given tickets to four female candidates in ST reserved seats – Dediapada, Morva Hadaf, Mahuva and Garbada and one from SC reserved Bardoli.

Limbdi, Karanj, Ghatlodia, Sayajigunj, Manjalpur, Pardi, Vav, Naranpura and Godhra are some other seats from which women are competing as candidates for the grand old party.

The AAP fielded three female candidates from ST reserved seats: Jhagadia, Jetpur and Mandvi. It also drafted women from Gondal, Una and Talaja.

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