13 women candidates were in the fray for the just-concluded elections
For the second time in the political history of Tamil Nadu, four women have been simultaneously elected to Lok Sabha. The State had elected four women MPs in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
However, this is the first time that all the four women MPs elected belonged to the same party — the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. J. Helen Davidson (DMK) elected from the Kanyakumari constituency was the lone women representative from Tamil Nadu in the previous Lok Sabha (2009-14).
National and regional parties nominated 13 women candidates in the 2014 elections — the AIADMK 4, the Congress 3, the DMK and the CPI(M) two each, and the CPI and the PMK one each.
All the four AIADMK nominees — K. Maragatham Kumaravel (Kancheepuram), Vasanthi Murugesan (Tenkasi-reserved), V. Sathyabama (Tirupppur) and R. Vanaroja (Tiruvannamalai) — romped home with decisive margins, though they were making electoral debut. Not only all the other women candidates from other parties lost by huge margins, many of them forfeited their deposits.
Only recently were Vigila Sathyanand of Tirunelveli and L. Sasikala Pushpa of Tuticorin elected to the Rajya Sabha on AIADMK ticket and Kanimozhi on DMK ticket. In the past, the maximum number of women to be elected from Tamil Nadu was three each in 1962 and 1991 elections.
While two MPs each were elected in the 1951, '77, '84 and 1989 elections, one each was elected in 1957, '71, '98, '99 and 2009 elections. In the three other Lok Sabha tenures in the past: 1967-71, 1980-84 and 1996-98 Tamil Nadu had nil women representation.
In the earlier elections, a few legendary political figures and social reformers have been elected from Tamil Nadu. The list included Ammu Swaminathan of Congress, mother of Captain Lakshmi Sahgal freedom fighter and close associate of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose (Dindigul 1952), T. S. Soundaram Ramachandran of Congress, social reformer and daughter of the founder of TVS Group T. V. Sundaram Iyengar (Dindigul 1962); veteran CPI leader Parvathi Krishnan (Coimbatore 1957 and 1977), former Union Minister Maragatham Chandrasekar of the Congress (Tiruvallur 1952, Mayuram 1962 and Sriperumpudur 1984, 1989 and in 1991).