Author: Deepak Lavania, TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: March 13, 2017
When the 17th Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly convenes, there will be a record 38 women MLAs in attendance, the highest since Independence. The stellar result came despite political parties giving tickets to only 96 women candidates.
BJP gave tickets to 43 women, the highest among all the parties. Of these, 32 won. From BSP and Congress, two women won, while one each from the Samajwadi Party and Apna Dal were also elected.
According to records available with the Election Commission, in the first UP assembly election after Independence, held in 1952, 20 women were elected.
The strength of women in the assembly has fluctuated in the elections ever since.
The next major milestone was in 1985, when 31 women were elected. However, in 1989, the number fell to 18, while only 10 women were elected in 1991.
In 1993, 14 women MLAs were elected, a number which steadily increased to 20 in 1996 and 26 in 2002. In 2007, however, the number fell to a mere three women MLAs, but in 2012 a record 35 were elected. In 2017, this number has gone up even further, in what is a welcome sign.
Like previous elections, political parties gave only a few tickets to women candidates. Out of 403 constituencies in the state in which the party contested, BSP fielded only 20 women candidates.
In 2012, the party had awarded 33 tickets to women. In the 2017 elections, the SP- Congress alliance gave tickets to 33 women, of which SP had 22 and Congress had 11 candidates. In 2012, when SP had fielded 34 women candidates, 22 had won. In the 2012 elections too BJP had given the highest number of tickets among all the parties to women.
However, of the 42 women candidates, only 7 had won. This time, despite only one more women candidate from the fray, BJP's women candidates also benefited from the massive mandate and 32 were elected with comfortable margins.