Women power in Parliament: 78 elected to Lower House

Chennai: The Lok Sabha elections are over. The BJP-led NDA has emerged the winner with an absolute majority. The NDA has won 353 seats in which the BJP has individually won 303, Congress (52) and Trinamool Congress (22).

The DMK has the highest number of MPs among State parties at 23, followed by the YSRC Congress at 22.

A closer look at the numbers reveals that 716 women candidates contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, of which, 78 were elected against the 62 in 2014.

Political experts say that the representation of women MPs in the Lok Sabha is slowly improving from 5 per cent in the first Lok Sabha to 14 per cent in the present Lok Sabha. They add that though the percentage of women MPs has increased over the years, it is still low compared to some countries.

In the 16th Lok Sabha, 62 women had won, while 52 women were elected to the 15th Lok Sabha.

A bill for 33 per cent representation for women in legislatures is pending in Parliament.

As many as 27 out of 41 sitting women MPs, including Sonia Gandhi, Hema Malini and Kirron Kher, retained their seats in the Lok Sabha polls, but Smriti Irani and Pragya Thakur stole the show with their victories over their more renowned rivals.

Speaking about more women representation in the Lok Sabha, Smriti Irani, said, “It is a welcome sign. The BJP has been voicing for it. We are hopeful that Women’s Reservation Bill will get passed.”

Locket Chatterjee, Bengali actress-turned-politician from the BJP, won in Hooghly constituency.

Among the other parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) fielded 24 women candidates, All India Trinamool Congress (TMC), 23, CPI(M), 10, CPI, 4, while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) fielded one woman candidate. As many as 222 women contested the polls independently.

NT Bureau