Out of 80 Bihar contestants, only 9 are female

Although female voters in Bihar are consistently outnumbering male voters, the state still has a long way to go before women are even somewhat fairly represented in politics.

A review of the candidates that the state’s competing parties have released so far indicates that women represent a pitiful 11.25% of the total field. Just nine women are among the 80 candidates who have been declared for Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats so far. In 2014’s LS elections, the number was 12, and in 2019, it was 11. With women outnumbering males in Bihar’s previous three Assembly votes, there is a clear gender disparity among the candidates for the parliamentary poll.

Unexpectedly, none of the main parties—the BJP, Congress, or Left—have put out a single female candidate for this election. These depressing patterns come after the historic bill that reserved 33% of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly was passed by parliament in September of last year.

The 2019 Lok Sabha elections saw one woman fielded by the BJP, one by the JDU, one by the LJP, three by the Congress, four by the RJD, and one by the CPI (ML). The BJP is running for 17 seats this year, but its list does not include any women. The JD(U) of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, which is running for 16 seats in the BJP-led NDA, has filed two female candidates: Lovely Anand and Vijay Lakshmi Kushwaha, who joined the party in March.

In the race for five seats, the LJP (Ramvilas unit), another partner of the NDA, has just one woman on the ballot: Shambhavi Choudhary of Samastipur, a SC reserved segment.

The NDA parties Hindustani Awam Morcha (HUM) and Rashtriya Lok Manch are vying for one seat each; both have been won by male candidates.

The Congress is running for nine seats on the opposition INDIA bloc side, the CPI-ML for three, and the CPI and CPM for one seat each. Another ally from India, the Vikasshil Insaan Party (VIP), has been guaranteed three seats in the state but has not yet announced any candidates. While the Left and the Congress have not identified any women on their list, RJD, which is running for 26 seats, has listed six.

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