In Kerala, all political parties are for women MLAs, but only in principle

By Administrator_ India

Capital Sands

Women MLAs have never exceeded 10% of the Kerala Legislative Assembly in its 64-year political history. Kerala elected the highest number of women MLAs in 1996-13. Since 2001, this percentage has hovered around 5%, but in 1967 and 1977, only one woman was elected to the Kerala Vidhan Sabha.

In large part, there are only a few women MLAs because political parties give a small number of tickets to women to contest elections. Although parties in all three coalitions have increased the percentage of tickets given to women since 2001, the number has never exceeded 16% of total contesting candidates.

In the last Assembly election held in 2016, the Communist Party of India gave 16% tickets to women, followed by CPI(M), which gave 14% tickets. Both the BJP and Congress gave 10% of their tickets to women.

It also matters what kind of tickets are given to women candidates. “The Left parties are better than others,” said A Jayashankar, an advocate and political observer, “More than half the seats they give are winnable ones, which explains the higher presence of women MLAs from the Left parties in the Assembly.” In contrast, he said, Congress usually gives unwinnable seats to women.

2016, all the eight-woman In 2016, all the eight-woman candidates that the Congress fielded lost. Shanimol Usman, who won the Aroor seat in a 2019 bye-election, was the saving grace for the party in that Assembly. In 2011, even when the Congress-led UDF won a majority, PK Jayalakshmi, who contested for a seat reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, was the lone woman to be elected. Lathika Subhash, despite being a senior leader in the Congress, was fielded only once in her three-decade political career — in 2011 against the incumbent CM, V S Achuthanandan. “State-level parties like the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Kerala Congress, and others perform the worst,” said Jayashankar. The IUML fielded a lone woman, Noorbina Rashid, a long-term member of the party, after 25 years.

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