Six women leaders have managed to secure a place in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, a meagre eight per cent even as fairer sex accounts for almost 45 per cent of the population in the national capital.
While as many as 66 women candidates were in fray, all the six winners, who have made it to the Assembly, belong to the Aam Aadmi Party. They are Rakhi Birla, Bandna Kumari, Saritha Singh, Alka Lambha, Pramila Tokas and Bhavna Gaur.
Interestingly, the three women candidates elected to the Delhi Assembly in 2013 polls were also from AAP — Ms. Birla, Bandana Kumari and Veena Anand.
Ms. Birla, who was the Cabinet minister for Women and Child, Social Welfare and Languages in Delhi during AAP’s 49-day regime, contested from Mangolpuri constituency in West Delhi and defeated Congress’ Raj Kumar Chauhan by 22,699 votes.
Elected as an MLA from the Shalimar Bagh constituency in the 2013 Assembly polls, Bandana Kumari emerged victorious by defeating another woman candidate, BJP’s Rekha Gupta.
Alka Lamba, a former leader of Congress-affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI) who had joined AAP in 2013, won from Chandni Chowk constituency, defeating yet another women candidate of BJP, Suman Kumar Gupta, by more than 18,000 votes.
Another woman who emerged victorious was Parmila Tokas, an independent municipal councillor. She was fielded from RK Puram constituency, where the party had pitted Shazia Ilmi in the last elections. Ms. Ilmi left AAP last year and ultimately joined hands with BJP just before the Delhi elections.
AAP’s student wing president Sarita Singh won from the Rohtash Nagar Assembly constituency with a margin of 7,874 votes. Bhawna Gaur, who contested from Palam constituency in South-west Delhi, defeated BJP’s Dhram Dev Solanki by 30,849 votes.
While women’s safety, which is a key concern in the national capital, featured widely in various parties’ poll manifestos, when it came to fielding women candidates, they did not opt for them.
A total of 19 women candidates were fielded by three major political parties in the contest — AAP, BJP and Congress. BJP had given tickets to maximum number of seven women candidates including its chief ministerial nominee Kiran Bedi, former Congress leader Krishna Tirath and youth face Nupur Sharma.
All the six women candidates of AAP emerged victorious. The least number of women candidates was fielded by the Congress which had given tickets to just five.
The prominent names in the list included Kiran Walia who was contesting from New Delhi Assembly seat against Arvind Kejriwal and President Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmishta Mukherjee from Greater Kailash constituency.