West Bengal: Study reveals poor representation of women in politics
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, March 11 (EMN): An analysis of members of parliament (MPs), members of legislative assembly (MLAs), and candidates who have contested the West Bengal Lok Sabha and Assembly elections since 2004, has revealed that only 10% or 623 out of the 6163 candidates, who have contested either parliamentary or state assembly elections, were women.
The report was released by the election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and West Bengal Election Watch (WBEW) ahead of the upcoming West Bengal elections to the Legislative Assembly from March 27 to April 29.
The report further disclosed that 72 or 12% out of the 623 female candidates, who had contested in elections since 2004, had declared criminal cases and 44 or 7% had declared serious cases against themselves in their affidavits.
Meanwhile, 1049 or 19% of the 5540 male candidates declared criminal cases against themselves and 789 or 14% had serious criminal cases.
The study analysed the MPs/MLAs and candidates’ financial and criminal cases based on the affidavits submitted by the candidates prior to 2006, 2011 and 2016 West Bengal Assembly Elections and 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019 West Bengal Lok Sabha Elections and bye elections to the state assembly and Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, the average assets of male candidates who have contested elections since 2004 was INR 49.95 lakh while the average asset of female candidates was INR 7.05 crore. Further, the average assets of men MPs/MLAs since 2004 was INR 1.05 crore and the average asset of women MPs/MLAs was INR 99.71 lakh.
Analysis of the data revealed that money and muscle power had a large bearing on the outcome of the election results, the report stated.
The average assets of 310 MPs/MLAs (since 2004) with declared criminal cases was INR 89.86 lakh and INR 88.95 lakh for 238 MPs/MLAs with declared serious criminal cases.
With respect to party-wise MPs/MLAs with criminal cases, 180 (23%) out of 774 candidates who have contested on BJP tickets since 2004 had declared criminal cases against themselves; 138 (35%) out of 393 Indian National Congress candidates; 276 (31%) out of 882 All India Trinamool Congress candidates; 156 (22%) out of 716 Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidates; 19 (4%) out of 458 Bahujan Samaj Party candidates; 8 (15%) out of 54 Communist Party of India candidates; and 146 (12%) out of 1252 Independent candidates.
Out of the 1081 MPs/MLAs, 771 had not declared any criminal cases, whereas 310 had declared criminal cases against themselves.
Candidates/MPs/MLAs with declared criminal cases
Meanwhile, with regard to educational qualifications, only 3210 out of the 6163 candidates had a graduate degree or above, while 2953 candidates were 12th pass and below.
Interestingly, 173 or 23% out of the 741 MPs/MLAs with declared criminal cases had a graduate degree or above and 120 or 16% had declared serious criminal cases.
In comparison, 137 or 40% of the 340 MPs/MLAs who were 12th pass and below had declared criminal cases and 118 or 35% had declared serious criminal cases.