As Meghalaya heads for polls to elect a new government on February 27, women candidates seem to be in the fray. The All India Congress Committee (AICC) and the Meghalaya Pradesh Mahila Congress projected a brigade of 10 women candidates, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded six female candidates.
According to the data from Election Commission, 36 women candidates are in the fray for Meghalaya’s 60-member assembly up from 32 candidates in 2018 and 24 in 2013.
Congress’ focus agenda
The ten women candidates running for the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and Meghalaya Pradesh Mahila Congress in Meghalaya elections 2023 are Jhanika Siangshai, Rona Khymdeit, Bethlehem Dkhar, Venetia Pearl Mawlong, Dr. Banidashisha Kharkongor, Lakyntiew Sohklet, Pynhunlang Nongrum, Victorealness Syiemlieh, Deborah C Marak.
BJP’s candidates on fray
Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) six women candidates for the Meghalaya polls 2023 include Marian Maring (Nongpoh), Riya Sangma (Jirang), Arena Hynniewta (Shella), Darikmen L Marshyllong (Mawthadraishan), Betty Jyrwa (Mawkyrwat).
Women in little closets
“In matters of politics and governance, women are still kept in their little closets here. They are restricted to their four walls,” Ampareen Lyngdoh, National People’s Party candidate from East Shillong seat, told PTI.
“There have been a few women who have come up but it’s not been anything substantial. Behind every successful male politician, there is a battalion of women. Somehow, women have not managed the courage to contest. This time we are aiming for some change,” Ampareen Lyngdoh added.
The lopsided equation
The number of women elected reflects the lopsided equation. There were four female legislators in both the 2018 and 2013 assemblies. And the number was one in 2008.
Notably, 375 candidates are running in the Meghalaya elections of 2023. The ruling NPP has fielded 57 candidates, while the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has fielded 56. The BJP and Congress are also running for 60 seats each. Although the electoral commission has not yet recognised KAM Meghalaya, there are 43 Independent candidates, including three from that state.
The female voter count
Furthermore, the total number of female voters in Meghalaya is 10,92,396 as compared to 10,68.801 male voters in the state. The first-time voters in the state are 81,443 that will cast their votes for the first time.