WOMEN VOTERS played an important role in electing the first woman MP of the city in 2014. Out of the total 2,81,593 women voters, 2,08,416 came out to cast their votes in the last Lok Sabha polls. At 74.01 per cent, this was the highest-ever turnout of women in the city since the 1967 parliamentary polls.
The city has seen a steady rise in women voters with their number going up from 31,175 in 1967 to 2,91,329 in January this year. For three elections in a row, women came to the booth in considerable numbers, with a turnout of 65.27 per cent, 63.11 per cent and 66.02 per cent in 1967, 1971 and 1977 elections, respectively.
However, their numbers started declining after the 1977 elections. From 1980 Lok Sabha polls to 2004, most women in the city seemed to have lost interest in the election process, and only half or less than half women voters stepped out to vote, plunging the turnout to around 50.11 per cent. At least four elections in this period were held under the shadow of militancy.
However, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, they surprised psephologists by coming out in record numbers, and elected the city’s first woman MP Kirron Kher with an unprecedented turnout of 74.01 per cent.
No woman face was ever fielded in 1967, 1971, 1989 and 1996 elections, and women candidates in 1977, 1980, 1984, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 lost the elections by huge margins.
The Modi wave in 2014 coupled with anti-incumbency catapulted Kirron Kher, a well-known Bollywood face, to a thumping victory.
Since 1967, Chandigarh has mainly seen a long line of male MPs who included Pawan Bansal, Satya Pal Jain, Harmohan Dhawan, Jagannath Kaushal, Krishan Kant and Chand Goyal.