A record number of 27 women candidates, including two each from mainstream parties like Congress, CPI(M) and BJP, are among 269 candidates contesting in the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala going to polls on April 10.
Though majority of them are either independents or belonging to minor parties, it is the first time in the state’s poll history that the number of women candidates is crossing the mark of 20.
Fifteen women candidates contested the previous Lok Sabha polls in 2009 and 2004. The number was 13 in 1999 and 10 each in 1998, 1996 and 1991 elections, election commission sources said.
The number was the lowest in the 1952, 1957 and 1962 polls–only one woman candidate was in the fray during these
In the coming polls, Congress has fielded two women leaders- Bindhu Krishna in Attingal and K A Sheeba in Alathur.
The opposition LDF has opted for veteran leader and former minister P K Sreemathi in Kannur and P K Sainaba
in Malappuram (both CPI(M). Senior BJP leaders Shobha Surendran and Girija Kumari are in the fray in Palakkad and Attingal respectively.
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Journalist Anita Pratap and writer Sara Joseph, both representing Aam Aadmi Party are other prominent women
candidates, seeking an entry into the lower House.
Pathanamthitta, where four women candidates are in the fray, has the highest participation of women. Wayanad, Malappuram, Ponnani, Palakkad, Chalakkudy and Ernakulam constituencies have one woman candidate each, while no women have figured in the candidate list of Kasaragod, Kozhikode, Kottayam and Kollam constituencies. Though women outnumber men on the electoral rolls in the state, women representation has been very low in Kerala in
Though the state is known for its remarkable track record on social development and literacy, many women leaders feel
that they do not get their deserved share.
Since 1952, Kerala has sent only seven women leaders to the Lok Sabha.
Susheela Gopalan, A K Premajam, Sathi Devi and C S Sujatha of CPI(M), Bhargavi Thankappan of CPI and Savithri Lakshman of Congress are among the prominent women who represented the state in Parliament.
Out of the total electorate of 2,42,51,942 in the state, 1,25,70,439 are women.