Mumbai: Eight women, more than half of them from the BJP, have made it to the 17th Lok Sabha from Maharashtra, which sends 48 MPs to the Lower House of Parliament, the second highest after Uttar Pradesh.
The women candidates who emerged victorious in the 2019 elections are Supriya Sule (NCP-Baramati), Bhavna Gawli (Shiv Sena-Yavatmal-Washim), Pritam Munde (Beed), Raksha Khadse (Raver), Heena Gavit (Nandurbar), Poonam Mahajan (Mumbai North Central), Bharati Pawar (Dindori) – all from the BJP – and Navnit Rana (NCP-backed independent-Amravati). Sule retained her seat for the third consecutive time with a margin of 1,55,774 votes. Gawli also held on to Yavatmal-Washim for the fifth time, defeating Congress leader Manikrao Thakre by a margin of 1,17,939 votes.
Khadse retained her seat by a massive margin of 3,35,882 votes, while Munde won with 1,68,368 votes and Gavit romped home with 95,629 more ballots than her nearest rival. Navnit Rana, the wife of independent MLA Ravi Rana, is the first-time winner. She defeated Shiv Sena veteran Anand Adsul by a margin of 36,951 votes in Amravati. Navnit Rana was an independent candidate backed by the NCP. Ravi Rana has been supporting the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government since 2014.
Pawar won from Dindori by a margin of 1,98,779 votes. She had contested from the same seat as the NCP nominee in 2014 and lost to Harishchandra Chavan of the BJP. Pawar joined the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and the party fielded her from Dindori, replacing its sitting MP Chavan. Congress’s Priya Dutt (Mumbai North-Central) and Urmila Matondkar (Mumbai North) lost miserably. BJP’s Kanchan Kul, the wife of Rashtriya Samaj Paksh MLA Rahul Kul, was defeated by Sule.
Of the 867 candidates in the fray in Maharashtra, 80 were women. Prominent political parties had fielded only 11 women, of which eight won. Interestingly, all eight belong to political families. Sule is the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Poonam Mahajan is the daughter of BJP leader the late Pramod Mahajan, while Pritam Munde is the daughter of BJP leader Gopinath Munde.
Khadse is the daughter-in-law of BJP leader Eknath Khadse. Gavit is the daughter of Vijaykumar Gavit, a former minister in the Congress-NCP government. Bharati Pawar is the daughter-in-law of former NCP leader the late A T Pawar. Priya Dutt is the daughter of late actor-politician Sunil Dutt, while Gawli is the daughter of Shiv Sena leader Pundalik Gawli, who won from Yavatmal-Washim in 1996 and 1998.