Record 78 women MPs in new Lok Sabha but only 3 get cabinet rank
New Delhi, May 31: At 14 per cent, or 78 of all 542 seats, the 17th Lok Sabha saw the highest representation of women ever, but only three women found a place in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new cabinet on Thursday.
Nirmala Sitharaman and Smriti Zubin Irani and Harsimrat Kaur Badal, from ally Shiromani Akali Dal, were inducted as cabinet ministers in the second innings of the Modi-led Union government.
In comparision, the previous NDA cabinet had Nirmala Sitharaman as defence minister, Smriti Irani as textile minister, Sushma Swaraj as foreign minister, Uma Bharati as drinking water and sanitation minister, Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur as food processing industries minister and Maneka Gandhi as women and child development minister. Najma Heptulla, served as minister of minority affairs but later she was dropped in after a reshuffle.
Former minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj, was missing in action on Thursday after recusing herself from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of 2019 on health grounds.
Two prominent women cabinet ministers were dropped from the new NDA government-former women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi and former drinking water and sanitation minister Uma Bharti.
Three get Minister of State rank
Taking oath as ministers of state were former minister of state for food processing industries Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Renuka Singh Saruta from Chhattisgarh and Debasree Chaudhuri from West Bengal. Saruta and Chaudhuri are first-time MPs.
BJP alone sent 41 women MPs
The BJP has the maximum number of winning women MPs 41 among all political parties. This partly has to do with the fact that the party won with a clear majority on its own by securing 303 seats.
A data analysis of the political parties shows that Mamata Banerjee's All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) includes nine winning women members and they constitute 40 percent of women the second highest number among all political parties.
Among the independents candidates, only two secured seats in the Parliament.
Grim picture of Indian women in Parliament
In the first-ever election, only five per cent of the House consisted of women. Now, that has increased to 14 per cent.
Over 600 women have been legislators since 1962. Of the 543 constituencies, about half (48.4 per cent) have never voted a woman MP since 1962. As many as 280 constituencies have voted at least one woman MP.
The newly elected 17th Lok Sabha has the highest representation of women at 14.3 per cent to make up a total of 78-a marked improvement from the 62 women MPs in 2014. In the 2019 general elections, 716 women candidates contested.