In 182-member House, only 15 are women
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The new state Assembly has 15 female members in its total strength of 182. While 12 are from BJP, only three are from Congress, which lost its fourth when Savitaben Khant, who was elected from Morva Hadaf, died this morning.
The Congress had this time fielded 14 female candidates while the BJP gave tickets to 19.
In 2007, a total of 88 women contested the Assembly polls, of which 16 won. Among the winners, 15 were from BJP and one from Congress. BJP had fielded 22 female candidates while Congress had fielded 14.
"Winnability is the most important concern for political parties. These do not care for female candidates but instead worry only about the number of seats," said Ila Pathak, founder of Ahmedabad Women's Action Group.
Ironically, it's a woman who has won from her Assembly constituency with a record margin. Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel defeated her nearest rival by 1,10,395 votes, a victory margin bigger than CM Narendra Modi's himself.
"It could have been the party symbol that worked in her favour. But one cannot deny the fact that despite Ghatlodia being a new constituency that had also shrunk after delimitation, Anandiben Patel won with a huge margin," Pathak said.
Newly elected BJP MLA Bhavanaben Makwana from Mahuva said it was the party that mattered, and not the candidate. "I won from Talaja seat in 2007. This year, the party repeated. People appreciated the development work undertaken by the party and hence they voted for me. Look at Kanu Kalsaria, who won last time from Mahuva on a BJP ticket but lost this time from Gariadhar. This shows the party is more important than the person."
State Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said his party had tried to live up to its mandate of fielding more female candidates this time round. "We even experimented by fielding candidates like Shweta Bhatt against Narendra Modi in Maninagar and Gitaben Patel against Gobarbhai Kakadiya in Thakkarbapa Nagar, but it did not work for us," he said.