Number of women MPs from Bengal doubled

Published - May 20, 2014 01:29 pm IST - KOLKATA:

The number of women MPs elected from West Bengal has nearly doubled with the electorate sending 12 of them to Parliament. This is only second to Uttar Pradesh, which has 13 women MPs. Of the 543 MPs across the country, only 62 are women, and West Bengal sends more than 19 per cent of them. The 12 women MPs include 11 from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and one from the Congress. The TMC is second to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in sending the highest number of women MPs.

Interestingly, more women had exercised their franchise in the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal where voting was above 80 per cent.

The list of women MPs from the State’s ruling party includes yesteryears actors, theatre personalities, and doctors along with politicians. Actors Moon Moon Sen and Sandhya Roy are the new entries while theatre personality Arpita Ghosh is the first-time MP.

The lone woman Congress MP is Mausam Benajir Noor representing Malda Uttar, who is no first timer.

The number of women MPs in the country has marginally increased from 61 in the 2009 Lok Sabha to 62 in 2014. While the percentage of women candidates elected from the country is about 11 per cent, in West Bengal it is about 28.5 per cent (12 of the 42 seats).

Though civil rights activists have welcomed the development, they are sceptical whether the increase in the number of women representing the State would bring in any positive change for the women in Bengal.

Women’s rights activist Saswati Ghosh said that it remains to be seen how these women MPs perform particularly on issues concerning women and atrocities on them. “Being a woman does not mean they will stand up for women’s rights,” Ms. Ghosh said.

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