Though the Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency (Mangalore, before delimitation in 2008) boasts more women voters, they have hardly shown interest in contesting elections. The latest data on the constituency shows that there are 14,305 more women voters than men (7,72,188 women and 7,57,883 men) in the constituency.
Women of the district have excelled in many areas. Freedom fighter and social activist Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and actors Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Shilpa Shetty Kundra, are fitting examples.
A few women from here are recognisable faces in Indian politics. But leaders such as Margaret Alva, Governor of Rajasthan, and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shobha Karandlaje, have migrated to other Lok Sabha constituencies (Ms. Alva to Uttara Kannada and Ms. Karandlaje to Udupi-Chickmagalur).
In the 13 elections since 1962 — when Mangalore emerged as a constituency — only three women have contested, and that too only on two occasions. But for the 1989 and 1999 elections, the Parliamentary polls here have remained an all-man affair. In 1989, women entered the election fray here for the first time when Gerty Suvarna and Flossy V. Pariara contested as Independent candidates and went on to bag about 1,500 votes each. Their vote share was less than half a per cent each, although they had made a beginning in the approach to the corridors of power.
But the constituency had to wait for 10 years before another woman could attempt to storm the male bastion. Lokeshwari Vinayachandra contested as a Janata Dal (Secular) candidate in 1999 and secured 20,980 votes, suggesting that women could not be ignored.