Women MPs number yet to touch 50 in Lok Sabha

March 20th, 2009 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) So much for woman power. The number of women MPs in India’s 545-member Lok Sabha has never touched 50, the Election Commission said Friday.
“The nearest when women members could reach this mark was in the 13th Lok Sabha in the 1999 elections when 49 women candidates were elected. It was barely 9.02 percent of the total Lok Sabha Seats,” a communique said.

The number of women elected to the Lok Sabha came down to 45 in 2004. It was the second highest in the house since its inception. “It was only 8.29 percent of the total seats,” the communique said.

“The lowest number of women elected to the Lok Sabha was in 1977 when only 19 women reached the lower house,” the Election Commission said. It was only 3.5 percent of the total seats (542 at that time).

“There was no other occasion in the history of Lok Sabha when the women did not even reach the mark of 20,” the poll panel said.

There were only three other occasions when women candidates could touch the figure of 40 in the Lok Sabha.

“In the 8th Lok Sabha (1984) 42 women, in the 11th Lok Sabha (1996) 40 women and in the 12th Lok Sabha (1998) 43 women were elected.

“This also means that prior to 1996, there was only one occasion (in 1984) when women elected to the Lok Sabha could even touch the figure of 40s,” the communique said.

“As far as number of women contestants is concerned, there were 599 women aspirants in the fray in 1996 followed by 355 women candidates in 2004 and 326 in 1991.” The number was always below 100 before 1980.

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