Two women from State heading to Lok Sabha this time

Fifteen years ago, it was Tejaswini Gowda and Manorama Madhwaraj who made it to LS

May 25, 2019 08:06 am | Updated 08:09 am IST - Bengaluru

Shobha Karandlaje.

Shobha Karandlaje.

After a gap of 15 years, two women candidates from Karnataka — Shobha Karandlaje from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru and Sumalatha from Mandya — have made it to the 17th Lok Sabha.

In 2004, Tejaswini Gowda had won as a Congress candidate from the then Kanakapura constituency against JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, and Manorama Madhwaraj had won from Udupi on a BJP ticket.

In 2014 LS polls, 20 women were in the fray from the State. Of them, Ms. Karandlaje was the only one to win a seat. Likewise, in the 2009 elections, J. Shantha from the BJP was the lone woman MP from Karnataka.

Although 27 women candidates, including three from prominent parties and one Independent, had contested this time, women’s representation is abysmally low when compared with the women voter population (2.48 crore) in the State. Women in Karnataka outnumbered men in 13 of the 33 electoral divisions as per the final electoral rolls prepared for the 2019 LS polls.

Ms. Karandlaje won with a huge margin of 3.49 lakh votes, the highest ever for a woman candidate from Karnataka. In fact, this is the fourth highest margin ever among all parliamentary candidates in the State so far. Ms. Sumalatha, who won by a margin of 1.26 lakh votes, is the first Independent woman candidate to have made it to the Lok Sabha from Karnataka.

Of the total 542 MPs who will take oath as members of the 17th Lok Sabha in the next few days, 78 are women, with Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal leading at 11 each.

This is the highest ever number of women representation since 1952. In the 16th Lok Sabha, 64 women had won, while 52 were present in the 15th Lok Sabha.

From Karnataka, the best representation of women in Parliament was in 1991 when three MPs were elected — Basavarajeshwari, D.K. Taradevi and Chandraprabha Urs. The lowest representation was in 1990 and 1998 when no women made it to Parliament. Since 1977, only 15 women candidates have made it, including two in bypolls. While 12 of the 20 Congress candidates fielded since 1977 have won so far, three of the seven women candidates fielded by the BJP have won.

First woman

The first woman MP to be elected to the LS from Karnataka was in 1962 when Sarojini Mahishi contested and won from Dharwad North Lok Sabha constituency. She was re-elected in 1967, 1971 and 1977. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was elected from Chikkamagaluru in 1977.

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