No woman candidate is in fray in five of Punjab’s 13 Lok Sabha seats, including in the key and progressive constituencies of Amritsar and Ludhiana.
Other constituencies where there is no representation of fair sex are Khadoor Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ferozepur Lok Sabha seats, according to Election Commission data.
However, a total of 19 women candidates are contesting in the remaining eight constituencies, including five in Faridkot seat alone. The state has 253 contestants in all for the April 30 polls.
Among the prominent women candidates contesting this time are Union minister and sitting MP Preneet Kaur from Patiala, senior Congress leader Ambika Soni from Anandpur Sahib and SAD’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who is sitting MP from Bathinda.
Other women candidates in the fray includes Jyoti Mann of AAP from Jalandhar, from where two more women are contesting as Independents.
Gurdaspur, from where Punjab Congress chief and sitting MP Pratap Singh Bajwa and BJP’s Vinod Khanna are in fray, also has a woman candidate — Santosh Kumari of MEDP party.
While 23 candidates are contesting from Amritsar, where senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley is locked in a fight with former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of Congress, Ludhiana will witness a battle for supremacy involving 22 aspirants.
In the industrial town of Ludhiana, where sitting Congress MP Manish Tewari opted out of the race due to health reasons, the party has fielded Ravneet Bittu, current MP from Anandpur Sahib, to take on SAD’s Manpreet Ayali.
In Faridkot, both SAD and Bahujan Mukti Party have fielded women candidates sharing the same name, Paramjit Kaur, while the other three women in the fray are Independents.
Two women are contesting as Independents from Sangrur. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, only 13 women out of a total of 218 candidates had run for a parliamentary seat in Punjab. For the April 30 polls, about 1.95 crore voters, including 92 lakh women, are eligible to cast their votes at 21,957 polling stations, including 15,463 in rural areas. Of the 13 Lok Sabha seats, at present Congress has eight MPs, SAD four and its alliance partner BJP one.
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