Earlier, I wrote about women, SC and ST candidates in the ‘free and fair’ Assam assembly election. Today’s column would analyse some more aspects about women in Assam assembly election 2011.
In the first phase of Assam assembly election 62 seats of south, central and eastern Assam will vote on April 4. There are 30 assembly seats out of these 62 which will have the option of choosing a female candidate. The rest of the 32 i.e. more than half of the 62 seats where voting will take place on April 4, 2011 won’t have a single female candidate to choose from.
Out of the 30 seats that have a female candidate in phase I, 19 seats have just 1 female candidate, 10 seats have 2 female candidates each and one seat has 3 female candidates. That amount to a total of 42 female candidates.
The total number of candidates in the 30 seats which have one or more female candidates is 253. It implies that the 42 women will be fighting 211 men for 30 seats. There is no intention to put women against men but it is clear that the voters will have almost 5 men candidates to choose from against every one female candidate.
Analysis suggests that the divide remains deeper than what numerical stats suggest.
Which party is fairer?
The parties which won major chunk of seats in the 2006 Assam assembly elections in the constituencies going to poll on April 4, 2011 are Congress (36), AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) (7), BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) (9) and AUDF (Assam United Democratic Front) (3). Five seats were won by independents and 1 each by CPI (M) and ASDC (Autonomous State Demand Committee).
Congress gave 14 tickets to female candidates in 2006 Assam assembly election of which 7 won and 6 became runner up. Of the 62 assembly seats going to vote on April 4, 2011 Congress had given 7 tickets to female candidates (4 won) in 2006 Assam assembly elections. From the same 62 seats, in 2011 assembly elections, Congress gave tickets to 10 female candidates. With 64 assembly constituencies left to go, Congress can well increase its 2006 tally of 14.
The BJP gave 15 tickets to female candidates in 2006 Assam assembly elections of which only 1 candidate won while 2 were runner up in 2 constituencies. Of the 62 assembly seats going to vote on April 4, 2011 BJP had given 9 tickets to female candidates (1 won) in 2006 Assam assembly elections. From the same 62 seats, in 2011 assembly elections, BJP this time gave tickets to 10 female candidates. If BJP would take a cue from Congress, it might rather do well than its tally of 15 in 2006.
The Asom Gana Parishad was a divide lot in 2006 Assam assembly election. AGP put up a total of 6 female candidates in 2006 of which 2 won. The other faction of AGP (P) led by Prafulla Kumar Mohanta put female candidates in 5 seats (none won). If we add together the tally of both the factions of AGP, it amounts to just 11. Both the parties had their female candidates in different seats. Also, the AGP contested 100 seats while the AGP (P) fought over 90 seats only. The BJP and the Congress contested 125 and 120 seats respectively.
Unfortunately, in the united AGP women seems to have lost their charm. Of the 62 seats that will be contested on April 4, 2011, this time the AGP has provided tickets to just 3 female candidates. In 2006 there were 5 female candidates (2 from AGP and 3 from AGP (P)).
But the tag of “I don’t care for women” should actually go to Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AUDF). The party gave just 2 of the 66 tickets it distributed, to female candidates in 2006 Assam assembly elections. Both the candidates lost their security. None of the 62 seats going to poll on April 4 had any female candidate from AUDF in the last election. None of them are women this time either.
Last but not the least is the independents. A total of 16 female independents (2 won) were in the fray in 2006 Assam assembly elections. Of the 62 going to poll on April 4, 2011 there were 7 independents in 2006 (none won). The tally of 7 has increased to 9 in 2011
Overall, of the 62 seats going to poll, there were 31 female candidates in 2006 assembly elections compared to 42 this time. The number has increase but so has the population. The slow pace of female participation hardly leaves any doubt that the political space is not going to be easily fair to women.
Women, SC & ST in Phase-I of Assam Elections
Two phase election in Assam from May 28