New Delhi: The highest-ever number of women have been elected in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Out of 542 MPs who will take oath as members of the lower house in the next few days, 78 are women with Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal leading at 11 each.
A total of 724 women candidates contested from across the country with Congress fielding the maximum women at 54 followed closely by BJP at 53. With over 14 per cent female MPs, the 17th Lok Sabha will have the highest number of women candidates since 1952. In 16th Lok Sabha, 64 women had won, while 52 women were elected to the 15th Lok Sabha.
A Bill for 33 per cent representation for women in legislatures in pending in Parliament. As many as 27 out of 41 sitting women MPs, including Sonia Gandhi, Hema Malini and Kirron Kher, retained their seats in Lok Sabha polls, but the likes of Smriti Irani and Pragya Thakur stole the show with their victories over their more renowned rivals.
Irani emerged as a giant-slayer — this time scripting a historic win by dethroning Rahul Gandhi in the Congress’s home turf Amethi. Controversial BJP candidate from Bhopal and terror-accused Thakur won against former chief minister Digvijay Singh.
Other prominent names to enter Parliament are DMK candidate from Thoothukkudi Kanimozhi Karunanidhi and BJP’s Rita Bahuguna, who won from Uttar Pradesh’s Allahabad constituency. Locket Chatterjee, Bengali actress-turned-politician from the Trinamool Congress, won in Hoogly constituency.
Among the other parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) fielded 24 women candidates, the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) 23, the CPI(M) 10, the CPI four, while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) fielded one woman candidate. As many as 222 women contested the polls independently.
A total of 8,049 candidates were in the fray in the parliamentary polls. Four transgender candidates contested the elections independently, while the AAP was the only party to field a transgender nominee. But all transgender candidates lost in the polls. The highest number of women candidates were fielded from Uttar Pradesh at 104, followed by Maharashtra. Sixty-four women candidates have been fielded from Tamil Nadu, 55 from Bihar and 54 from West Bengal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday led his Bharatiya Janata Party towards a spectacular victory for a second term in office. In 14th Lok Sabha 52 women candidates won, in 13th Lok Sabha 52 women candidates won, in 12th Lok Sabha 44 women candidates won, in 11th Lok Sabha 41 women candidates won.
In 10th Lok Sabha 42 women candidates won. There were 28 women in 9th Lok Sabha while the 8th Lok Sabha had 45 women MPs. Before that, the maximum of 37 women won in 3rd Lok Sabha. There were 24 women MPs each in the first and the second Lok Sabha.