Women make nearly 50% of total votes in 3 states; Cong redraws strategy

Bihar serves as a lesson where women voters emerged decisive in around 118 seats out of 243

Women voters
Around 77% voting took place in the second round of polling in Assam on April 1. Representative photo: PTI

One of the striking features of the November 2020 polls in Bihar was the fact that women voters had swung the polls in NDA’s favour. The Election Commission figures showed that in 118 assembly seats out of the total 243, the number of women voters was higher than men voters and the turnout was higher among women. And that’s the lesson that the Congress, having suffered one election defeat after another amid a rising chorus of dissidence, seems to have learnt.

Three important states are due for polls in the coming four-five months – West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Assam.

In West Bengal, women voters are 49 per cent of the total 7.18 crore voters. Trinamool Congress chief and CM Mamata Banerjee has appointed ‘Bongo Janani’, after the TMC’s not-so impressive performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. If the number of women voters is more than half of the electorate in the final voter list, expected to be released shortly, the state will be the fourth after Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to have such a record.

In Tamil Nadu, the number of women voters continues to exceed men for the consecutive sixth year. Of the over 6.10 crore voters, over 3.09 crore are women and 3.01 are men. The women voters outnumber men in as many as 198 Assembly constituencies out of the 234. The polls are due in the state in April-May.

In Assam, out of the total 2.24 crore voters, over 1.10 crore are women electors. In 2019, the state recorded maximum number of registration by women voters. The polls are due in April.

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A report in Hindustan Times says the Congress plans to put five women workers for every polling booth across these states. In Puducherry UT, polls are due before May.

“Five booth level workers will be appointed who will be responsible for translating the party’s larger narrative for women empowerment at the ground level,” Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev told HT.

The Mahila Congress’s national executive met a couple of days ago and discussed how to win back women voters. Party general secretary (organization) KC Venugopal attended the meeting. A report of the meeting will go to senior party leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

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A state Congress chief told HT that the party was in the process of gathering suggestions. “There are three focus areas for us, women, social media and block level outreach,” a state president said. “We have already appointed 280 observers at the block-level who are in the process of identifying women who are active in politics to play a key role in the outreach.”