Gujarat: The BJP and Congress lists only include four female candidates

Political parties in Gujarat exhibit reluctance to nominate female candidates for electoral posts, despite the rhetoric surrounding women’s empowerment and the lobbying for a 33 per cent quota for women.

As the two biggest parties in the state, the BJP and the Congress, are equally to blame for this hesitation. Out of 26 seats in Gujarat, the BJP won six seats for female MPs in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Nevertheless, the BJP has only filed four female candidates for the upcoming 2024 elections. In a similar vein, the Congress party has only selected four female candidates for the next Lok Sabha elections. It’s important to remember that 2.39 crore women vote in Gujarat, making up almost 50% of all voters who are officially enrolled.

In Gujarat, the number of female candidates and MPs is steadily declining. Together, the two main parties have only nominated four women candidates for Gujarat’s 26 seats. Poonam Madam for the Jamnagar seat, Shobhana Baraiya for the Sabar Kantha seat, Neemu Bambhania for the Bhavnagar seat, and Rekha Ben Chaudhary for the Banas Kantha seat are the four women who the BJP has nominated.

Notably, a woman from the Congress will run against a woman from the BJP for the Banaskantha seat in North Gujarat in the 2019 elections.

This is the first time that the Congress and BJP have nominated female candidates against one another in Gujarat.

Geni Ben Thakor is one of the four female candidates put up by the Congress party, and she is running for the Banaskantha seat. In addition, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is running for the Gandhinagar seat, while Sonal Patel has been nominated by the Congress. Other noteworthy nominees include Prabha Taviyad from Dahod and Jeni Thummar from Amreli.

Surprisingly, nine Gujarati constituencies—Ahmedabad West, Gandhinagar, Porbandar, Patan, Panchmahal, Kheda, Bharuch, Valsad, and Navsari—have never had a female candidate win an election.

Women’s representation is declining

In Gujarat, the number of female candidates and MPs is steadily declining. Just four female candidates have been nominated by each of the two main parties for Gujarat’s 26 seats.