Vidarbha: Only 57 women candidates from 62 seats

Nagpur: One often hears politicians speak about women's rights and women's equality and urging women to share the public space. But when it comes to politics, the ground reality the situation is rather a dismay. There are 50 per cent seats reserved for women in the local autonomous bodies, but when it comes to the Assembly or Lok Sabha polls, women do not get even 30 per cent representation.

In the current election, only a handful of women candidates will be contesting from the Vidarbha region. With only 57 women trying their luck from 62 Assembly seats spread over 11 districts of Vidarbha. Surprisingly, there is not a single woman candidate in the 24 Assembly constituencies. The highest number of women, 15 are from Nagpur city, followed by 13 in Amravati district.

The number of women candidates in the fray from other districts include Akola - 6, Chandrapur and Yavatmal 5 each, Buldana – 4, Gadchiroli and Bhandara districts 3 each and Gondia and Washim districts 1 each.

Not a single woman candidate is contesting from Wardha, Deoli, Arvi, Melghat, Chandrapur, Morshi, Akot, Risod, Karanja, Digras, Arni, Kamptee, Ramtek, Nagpur (East), Khamgaon, Buldana, Malkapur, Mehkar, Bhandara, Tiroda, Arjuni-Morgaon, Gondia, Aheri and Armori Assembly constituencies.

Surprisingly, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has given ticket to only one woman. The lone woman BJP candidate from Vidarbha is Shweta Mahale from Chikhli Assembly constituency in Buldana district.

Shiv Sena is contesting 12 seats from Vidarbha and has given tickets to two women, both are from Amravati district. The Sena candidates are Preeti Band from Badnera and Sunita Fiske from Achalpur.

Congress has fielded six women candidates, which include the sitting legislator, Yashomati Thakur from Teosa in Amravati district, Sulbha Khodke from Amravati, Dr Rajni Rathod from Washim, Pratibha Dhanorkar from Warora in Chandrapur district, Swati Wakekar from Jalgaon-Jamod and Dr Chanda Kodwate from Gadchiroli seat.

No woman candidates feature in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) list, which is contesting 14 seats from the region. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) too has six women candidates. Savita Kataktalware is contesting from Dhamangaon-Railway in Amravati district, Chhaya Gabhne from Tumsar in Bhandara district, Meenakshi Sawalkar from Umarkhed and Adv Savita Awadh from Pusad (both in Yavatmal district). While, Sanchyata Patil is contesting from Saoner and Parveen Sayed from Chikhli.

The Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi has given tickets to three women, Rekha Wakpanjar from Daryapur in Amravati district, Praibha Avchar from Murtizapur in Akola district and Savita Mundhe from Sinkhed-Raja in Buldana district.

Aam Admi Party (AAP) has fielded the renowned social activist advocate Paromita Goswami from Brahampuri in Chandrapur district, while All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) has given a ticket to Kirti Dongre from North Nagpur seat. While Shetkari Kamgar Paksha has given sole ticket to Jayshree Velda.

Overall the women representation is marginal in the region with other small and regional parties too, preferring male candidates over females.

The district wise women candidates are as follows:

Nagpur – 15

Amravati – 13

Akola - 6

Chandrapur -5

Yavatmal - 5

Buldana - 4

Gadchiroli – 3

Bhandara - 3

Gondia - 1

Washim - 1

--Awadhoot Pathak

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