Women power in Indian politics: A look down memory lane
New Delhi, May 9: There were four general elections to the Lok Sabha between 1999 to 2014. The present 2019 General election still ongoing. The number of women candidates in the elections has increased over the years. The numbers over the years emerges from the relative success rate of women contestants as opposed to the male contestants. Consistently the success rate of women has been higher over the years than men.
For years, political parties have talked about reserving 33% of seats in the parliament for women. But, the women reservation bill has not passed in both houses of Parliament as yet.
Let us take a look at the number of women who have contested elections in the past ten years:
1999: In the 1999 election were held in between September 5 to October 3. It was a remarkable year as the elections were held a few months after the woeful Kargil war to constitute the 13th Lok Sabha. The total number of women MP's who contested in 1999 year were 284 of which 49 were elected and the percentage of the women candidate reached 9.02%. It was a win for the NDA with 298 seats. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was again declared the Prime Minister of India in 1999.
2004: In 2004 polls, among the 355 women contested only 45 candidates won and the percentage stood at 8.29%.
2009: In the 2009 elections there were 556 women candidates of which 59 won. The total percentage of women MPs was 10.87%. The people of West Bengal had elected the maximum number of women parliamentarians. Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress fielded a huge number of women candidates as compared to other political parties of 2009 Lok Sabha election.
2014: The 2014 general elections witnessed a record high with 670 women contesting the polls. It was an increase of 20 per cent when compared to the 2009 and the number of women who won the elections was 63 at a percentage of 12.15. While the number of women candidates contesting the elections was high, the success rate was not much to speak about.
It is encouraging to find a large number of women entering the fray. However the political participation of women is considerably low when one takes into account that they account for 49 per cent of the population.
The big question is will the party that wins the elections in 2019 implement, the long pending Women's Reservation Bill.