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Manipur: Women outnumber men; but few candidates

By Our Correspondent Updated: Feb 22, 2017 11:12 pm

Imphal, Feb. 22: Like Goa, women voters outnumber men in election- bound Manipur. Besides, its female literacy rate is also higher than the national average, but when election comes only few women contest. Manipur goes to the polls on March 4 and the 8th next.

Out of state’s 19,02,562 voters, women voters (9,73,989) outnumbered the men (9,28,573). But only 11 women candidates (against 15 in the 2012 assembly polls) were listed among the 266 candidates in fray across Manipur’s 60 constituencies. 49 constituencies do not have any women candidate which is again much lower than that of Goa’s 17 women candidates out of 251 candidates across 40 constituencies in their February 4 polls.

Even the outgoing Manipur assembly has just three women legislators namely Ak Mirabai, O Landhoni and Nemcha Kipgen, currently contesting on a BJP ticket.

Manipur’s first woman MP in the parliament Kim Gangte who recently joined the BJP felt that “Politics without women is like a home without women.”

“But women must work harder and determined to fight (in elections). For this she has to convince herself first, the family and then the society etc,” the former CPI MP in 1998 said. “Women must have the mindset to fight that they also can do politics. So we’ve to start and fight with a target whether we lose or gain.”

Like the ruling Congress and opposition BJP’s two women candidates each, Manipur’s iconic rights activist Irom Sharmila’s People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) party also nominated just two candidates including herself from the Thoubal constituency. The Manipur National Democratic Front, National People’s Party, Trinamool Congress, Lok Janshakti Party and the independent have one each.

Recently in a TV discussion session, Manipur’s first Muslim woman candidate representing PRJA, Najima Bibi, who is contesting for the Wabagai constituency in Thoubal district, felt that women should raise their voice to ‘convince the men as men hardly understand women’s grievances.’

Women in Manipur have taken an active role in shaping the history of Manipur. Two Nupi Lan or women’s war in 1904 and 1939 against the exploitation and artificial famine triggered by the British imperialists, is a landmark event in the state’s history not to speak of Meira Paibi, popular womenfolk’s organizations movement of the current times.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Feb 22, 2017 11:12:43 pm