Elections 2019: Women Voters to be Deciding Factor in LS Polls, Says EC Data
Image courtesy: Hindustan Times
Bhopal: Women voters have never been at the centre of politics in India and no political party have not focused on them despite the fact that they constitute almost half the share of total votes in the country.
The voting pattern of women during elections has not received much attention from the political parties, but the data of recently concluded assembly elections (November 28, 2018) in Madhya Pradesh has suggested that it is the women voters who had overthrown the three-term old BJP government in the state.
According to the election commission data analysed by the NewsClick, in assembly constituencies where women voting percentage raised from the previous 2013 assembly elections, the sitting candidates lost the seat and in constituencies where women voting percentage decreased, the sitting candidates were re-elected.
There were at least seven constituencies in the state where voting percentage of women witnessed a hike of over 10% compared to the past elections — and in five of these seats, the sitting MLAs lost.
Women Voting Pattern in MP
Assembly seats which witnessed 10% increase in women voting:
|Constituencies||Winner in 2013||Winner in 2018||Increase in female voting (%)||Result|
|Anuppur||BJP||INC||13.61||Sitting MLA lost|
|Sardarpur||BJP||INC||13.53||Sitting MLA lost|
|Gadhwani||INC||INC||12.1||Sitting MLA won|
|Bhander||BJP||INC||11.85||Sitting MLA lost|
|Udaipura||BJP||INC||10.17||Sitting MLA lost|
|Raigaon||BSP||BJP||10.12||Sitting MLA lost|
|Gunnour||BJP||INC||10.56||Sitting MLA did not contest|
On the contrary, there were 11 constituencies where women voter participation declined in comparison to the previous elections, and in 10 of these seats, the sitting MLA was re-elected.
The highest increase in women voter turnout — of 13.61% — in the 2018 polls was reported in Anuppur constituency. Here, the sitting BJP MLA lost to the Congress candidate. This, was followed by Sardarpur constituency (13.53% increase), Gandhwani (12.1%), Bhander (11.85%), Gunnour (10.65%), Udaipura (10.17%), and Raigaon (10.12%) constituencies. Results showed that except Gunnour where the sitting BJP MLA did not contest and Gandhwani constituency, the sitting MLA lost in all others.
The 73 constituencies saw a 5% or more increase in women voter participation in the 2018 polls. In 43 of these constituencies, the sitting MLA lost — translating to a 58.9% chance.
The increase in women voter’s turnout in these 73 constituencies benefited the Congress party. In 2013, Congress had won only 12 seats and BJP 56 seats, but in the 2018 elections, Congress won 39 seats and BJP just 33 seats in the same areas.
The 11 assembly constituencies – Govindpura, Balaghat, Jabalpur East, Sohagpur, Katangi, Indore-4, Indore-2, Lahar, Mungaoli and Ujjain North — where women voters turnout fell in comparison to the 2013 polls, seven sitting MLAs of BJP retained their seats.
Seats with decline in women voters:
|Constituencies||Winner 2013||Winner 2018||Decrease in Female voting (%)||Result|
|Balaghat||BJP||BJP||-0.19||Sitting MLA won|
|Jabalpur East||BJP||INC||-0.37||Sitting MLA lost|
|Sohagpur||BJP||BJP||-0.42||Sitting MLA won|
|Katangi||BJP||INC||-0.6||Sitting MLA lost|
|Indore - 4||BJP||INC||- 0. 64||Sitting MLA lost|
|Indore- 2||BJP||BJP||-0.8||Sitting MLA won|
|Indore - 5||BJP||BJP||-1.18||Sitting MLA won|
|Lahar||INC||INC||-0.99||Sitting MLA won|
|Mungaoli||INC||INC||-1.53||Sitting MLA won|
|Ujjain North||BJP||BJP||-5||Sitting MLA won|
Interestingly, to attract women voters during the 2018 Assembly elections, the BJP had released a separate manifesto for women promising a total makeover of women’s condition in the state, but, the election results suggest that the manifesto failed to please these women voters and where ever the women voted in large numbers in comparison to previous election, the saffron party lost its seat.
Impact on Parliamentary Election
Election experts are of the opinion that the voting pattern of Assembly elections is likely to impact the forthcoming parliamentary election.
The general election in Madhya Pradesh will be held from April 29 to May 19, 2019, for all 29 constituencies including 10 reserved. Now, both the parties are trying to woo the women voters in the state in a bid to win more seats.
At present, the BJP has 26 and Congress has 3 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
“Out of 5.14 crore total voters, 2.46 crore are women in Madhya Pradesh who hold the key to 29 parliamentary seats going to polls,” said senior journalist Ashutosh Shukla.
The highest number of women voters in Madhya Pradesh are in Indore-11 lakh, Bhopal-10 lakh, Madla-9.6 lakh and Gwalior-9.1 lakh. The rest of the constituencies have average 8 lakh women voters.
In such a situation, both Congress and BJP are trying to reach out and woo women voters by launching campaigns and using their women’s wings. Both the parties are yet to release their manifesto but Congress president Rahul Gandhi has already promised to pass Women Reservation Bill, if voted to power in the centre.
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