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74 women candidates in fray in Assam Assembly elections

Guwahati: Political parties have made promises galore to woo the 49.35 per cent strong women electorate but only 74 women candidates are in the fray for the three-phase Assam Assembly elections in 2021.

The number of women candidates in this year's Assembly election is less compared to the last two state assembly polls.

In the 2016 Assam Assembly election, there were 91 women candidates in the fray with eight of them winning while in 2011, 85 women contested and 14 made it to the assembly, the highest so far elected to the House.

The 74 candidates comprise a mere 7.82 per cent of the total 946 candidates in the fray for the 126 member Assembly.

Notwithstanding their poor representation, women came out in large numbers, outnumbering men in the first phase with 76.07 per cent of the total 40,32,481 female electorate exercising their franchise while 75.79 per cent of the 40,77,210 male voters and 11.29 per cent of the 124 third gender cast their vote.

In the second phase, women were a mere .06 per cent behind men voters with 80.94 of the 36,09,959 women electorate exercising their franchise as against 81 per cent of the total 37,34,537 male electorate and 5.9 per cent of the 135 third gender voters.

The Congress, a part of the Grand Alliance, has put up nine women candidates with its allies the AIUDF, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF) giving tickets to one women candidate each.

The Grand Alliance's total of 12 women candidates in this assembly poll is lower than the 16 women given tickets by the Congress in 2016 Assembly election.

The BJP has given tickets to seven women candidates, one more than the last polls, while its alliance partner, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has put up two aspirants, the same as in the last elections.

The newly floated Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) has given tickets to seven women candidates while the other new party Raijor Dal has put one women candidate. The AJP and Raijor Dal candidates are contesting as independents.

Among the nine candidates of the Congress, there are three new faces, two sitting MLAs, two former ministers along with two others who had contested and lost the last polls.

The Congress new faces are Ashima Bardoloi, the grand-daughter of Assam's first Chief Minister Bharat Ratna Gopinath Bordoloi, contesting from Gauhati (East), Mira Barthakur Goswami from Gauhati (West) and Sibamoni Bora from Batadroba.

The sitting MLAs who have been renominated are Nandita Das (Boko) and Roselina Tirkey (Sarupathar) while two former ministers Pranati Phukan (Naharkatiya) and Bismita Gogoi along with Angkita Dutta (Amguri) and Pallabi Gogoi (Teok), who lost the 2016 polls, have been given tickets again by the party.

The BJP also has four new faces - Surabhi Rajkonwar (Sivasagar), Nandita Garlosa (Haflong), Moon Swarnakar (Algapur) and Hasinara Khatun (Baghbor)- in the fray. The saffron party has renominated two sitting MLAs, Angoorlata Deka (Batadroba) and Suman Haripriya (Hajo) while former Congress minister and sitting MLA Ajanta Neog (Golaghat), who joined BJP before the elections, was given the ticket from the same constituency.

Among the lesser known political parties, the SUCI (C) has the highest of eight women candidates, followed by three of the Voters International Party (VPI) and two of the Bharatiya Gana Parishad (BJP) and 24 independents are in the fray.

There are three women each contesting in the six constituencies of Batadroba, Algapur, Sipajhar, Gauhati (East), Gauhati (West) and Sarukhetri.

There are two women candidates in each of the 11 constituencies of Teok, Golaghat, Sadiya, Lahorighat, Barhmapur, Silchar, Jamunamukh, Panery, Raha, Dispur and Palasbari. (PTI)

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