GUWAHATI: Despite the government of India's emphasis on increasing women's participation in politics, the number of women MLAs in Assam remains abysmally low in the poll-bound state, a report compiled by election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has highlighted.
Out of 118 MLAs analyzed by the ADR, only 8 (6.78%) MLAs are women. Somewhat shockingly, the number of MLAs in the Assam Assembly has actually decreased over the years. While in 2006, 10% of the MLAs in the Assembly were women, in 2011, the number jumped to 11%. However, the number dipped to an abysmal 6% in 2016, when the AGP-BJP-BPF parties came to power.
The ruling BJP party is one of the worst offenders as only 3% of its MLAs are women. The Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF, somewhat bafflingly, does not have a single female MLA!
The AGP (7%), BPF (17%), and Congress (12%) performed slightly better.
62 (52%) MLAs have declared their age to be between 25 and 50 years while 56 (48%) MLAs declared their age to be between 51 and 70 years at the time of filing the nomination before the 2016 Election.
3 MLAs declared their age as less than 35 years in 2016. They are Roselina Tirkey (INC), Abdur Rahim Ajmal (AIUDF), Angoorlata Deka (BJP).
MLAs More than 65 years: 6 MLAs declared their age as more than 65 years in 2016. They are Dr.Nazrul Islam (INC), Brindaban Goswami (AGP), Dimbeswar Das (BJP), Pramila Rani Brahma (BPF), Atul Bora (BJP) and Bir Bhadra Hagjer (BJP).
Tasaduk Ariful Hussian, the state coordinator of the ADR, told Inside Northeast that such low numbers of women MLAs should prompt the political parties to "re-think."
"Through our reports, we are trying to highlight those issues which have something to do with democracy and create awareness for the public at large. The fact that we have such a low number of women candidates is a worrying sign. This necessitates discussions so that positive changes can be made in this regard. The BJP and AIUDF parties, for instance, hardly have any female candidates which show them in a rather poor light. They need to be more sensitive towards these issues."
On Friday last, the Election Commission of India announced that Assam will go to Assembly elections in three phases beginning March 27, 2021.
The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today