Women count in Haryana Assembly sinks to their lowest tally in 14 years

Haryana CM Khattar with one of the women candidates.
The 90-member Haryana Assembly will have nine women — four fewer than the 13 women legislators in the previous term — making this their lowest tally in 14 years. The state saw 104 women candidates contesting from 56 constituencies.


The previous low was in 2000, when four women were voted to the Assembly in a state which until recently had India’s worst gender ratio at birth, and the fourth-highest rate of crimes against women in 2017.

The Manohar Lal Khattar-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 40 seats, clocking a second successive term in Haryana. This is seven seats fewer than the 47 it won in 2014, forcing it into an alliance with the Jananayak Janata Party (JJP). The Congress won 31 seats.


In the 2019 general election, the BJP had won all 10 parliamentary seats in the state. Only one of the members of parliament elected, Sunita Duggal, was a woman. The BJP gave tickets to 12 women this year, compared to 10 women candidates from the Congress.


In 2014, women formed 14 per cent of Haryana’s MLAs, four percentage points more than in 2009. But this is less than the 33 per cent representation for women in Parliament and state Assemblies sought in a Bill ( the women’s reservation Bill) introduced in 2009, which has since lapsed.


Gilles Verniers, co-director of the Trivedi Centre for Political Data and head of the political science department at Ashoka University, says: “Until this result, Haryana had the highest representation of women in Assemblies. This often comes as a surprise, given the state's reputation on women's welfare, but we observe that in India, states with the worst women welfare-related statistics like skewed sex ratio, illiteracy, infant mortality, etc. tend to have more women politicians than those with better indicators.”


“One explanation is the prevalence of dynastic politics in those states, which creates opportunities for women to run,” Verniers said. “The traditional, conservative, north Indian political tradition tends to have a prevalent culture of political dynasticism than other parts of India.”





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