Kargil, Nov 9: Women in two assembly segments of Kargil and Zanaskar in this district, going to polls in the first phase on November 17 along with eight other constituencies in the Jammu and Kashmir, hold the key in the male dominated society.
According to official records there are 58,073 registered voters out of which 29,243 are female. However, there was not a single women in the contest from both the seats.
The women, simple and hardworking, in this region of the state are still unaware about their rights granted by the Constitution even after more than 60 years of independence.
Women in the rural and far-flung areas remained busy in their daily routine work in the fields and houses without getting time to discuss politics, said a 56-year-old Khateeja Begum of Zanaskar segment who had not cast her vote during her entire life. However, she said other members of the family were participating in the polling.
For the past one decade women of main Zanaskar town and other far- flung areas have started going to schools and eager to learn computers as State government has set up some centres, said Ghulam Nabi.
He said women are mostly very shy and not interested in politics.
According to official records there are 58,073 voters to elect their representative from among the five candidates left in the fray in the segment. The National Conference (NC) has again fielded Qamar Ali Akhoon who was defeated by an independent candidate Nissar Ali who is again contesting as an independent from the constituency.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has not fielded its candidate from the seat. The other candidates trying their luck from the constituency are Ehsan Ali of the BJP, Ahmed Hussain (BSP) and Mohammadd Ismayil (the Awami National Conference).
Interestingly in this constituency, 29,243 female voters are registered which is more than the male voter figure of 28,830.
The District Electoral office said the number of polling stations set up is 158 as compared to 149 in 2002 elections.
The seat was represented by the men since first election was held in the state in 1957.
It was the Aga Syed Ibrahim of the National Conference (NC) headed by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, after Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was imprisoned in 1953 after being removed as Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, who represented the Shia dominated constituency in 1957 and 1962.
Mr Kachu Mohammad Ali Khan won from here on a Congress ticket in 1967 and 1972 elections. However, after the NC headed by Sheikh Abdulah joined the mainstream politics, following accord with Indira Gandhi in 1975, the seat remained strong hold of the party (NC). Mr Munshi Habibullah wrested the seat from the Congress in 1977 and retained it in 1983 for the NC. Mr Qamar Ali Akhoon won 1987 and 1996 Assembly elections on the NC ticket.
Mr Haji Nissar Ali, an independent candidate, was elected from this constituency in 2002 defeating his nearest NC rival Mr Qamar Ali Akhoon by a margin of 6,396 votes after the segment witnessed record 74.82 poll percentage, highest in the state.
The Zanskar Assembly segment has similar situation as women voters outnumber the men in this constituency also.
Officials said that in a 20,044 registered voters for the women voters are 10,104 as compared to 9,940 men voters.
A total of 79 polling stations will be set up, as compared to 70 in 2002 elections.
Zanskar, was a part of Kargil segment before a separate constituency was carved out on April 17, 1995 and went to polls in 1996.
Mr Ghulam Abbas was the first to represent the people of Zanaskar in the Assembly in 1996 and later in 2002 polls.
Mr Abbas of the NC, defeated his nearest independent rival Mr Tsering Chosphel by a margin of 3,187 votes.
However, due to the demise of Mr Abbas, the constituency went to a by-election on August 25, 2005 and Mr Ghulam Raza, an independent candidate, was declared elected from this constituency.
The NC has fielded Feroz Ahmad Khan (NC), Mohammadd Amin (PDP), Ghulam Raza (Congress), Padama Thinless (BSP) and Sonam Stobgias (LUTF).