Women form 16.3% of BJP’s candidates, Cong fares worse

In comparison to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has nearly doubled its share of women candidates, leaving the Congress behind.

WrittenBy:Sumedha Mittal
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Increasing women voters

After the 2014 election saw an unprecedented 10 percent rise in women voter turnout, the BJP seems to have increased its share of tickets to women, probably as a strategy to fully tap into that potential.

Between the 1999 and 2019 general elections, the percentage of women candidates in the BJP’s list saw a rise, except 2014. The number of women candidates has risen from 37 in 2014 to 68 in 2024.

In the 2014 polls, the Congress was ahead in the proportion of women candidates as compared to the BJP, but the latter seems to have increased its share since then. 

Moreover, between 2014 to 2024, the Congress seems to have increased its women candidates only marginally despite the opposition party traditionally being favoured by women voters over the BJP according to some estimates.

The Verdict, a book by Prannoy Roy and Dorab R Sopariwala, suggested that the BJP’s support among women has tended to be lower than among men. 

According to its analysis, the NDA had a 19 percent lead over the UPA among men and a lead of 9 just among women in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The book estimates that if only women had voted in those elections, then the NDA would have lost 71 seats of the 336 it actually won. And if only men had voted in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the NDA would have won 376 seats. 

However, by 2019, the BJP managed to increase its women voter base – 36 percent women voters opted for the party in comparison to the 29 percent that did in 2014, according to CSDS.

The Congress, meanwhile, was supported by more or less an equal percentage of men and women, according to those estimates. 

imageby :Data based on candidates announced until April 8.

In reserved seats 

Across India, there are 47 seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes and 84 for Scheduled Castes.

The NDA has fared slightly better in constituencies reserved for STs. Of the 44 candidates it has announced so far, 12 are women – about 27 percent.  The opposition bloc, meanwhile, has fielded eight women in the 42 seats where it has announced candidates – about 19 percent. 

The progress is nearly the same, about 16 percent, for both the blocs in SC reserved constituencies. The NDA has fielded 13 women among 78 names it has announced so far, while the opposition bloc has given tickets to 10 women among the total 61 names it has announced so far. 

A look at states

There are states where both the NDA and INDIA alliance have not fielded even a single woman candidate. These are Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Both the alliances have announced candidates for all seats in these states and UTs. 

The INDIA alliance has not given tickets to women candidates in six other states and UTs, including Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa, Nagaland and Tripura. 

Of all the states and Union territories, the NDA and INDIA bloc have fielded the highest number of women candidates in West Bengal, where the NDA has given tickets to eight women while the opposition alliance has fielded nine women.

NDA has also fielded eight women candidates in Maharashtra, followed by seven in Uttar Pradesh, six each in Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and five in Kerala. 

The INDIA alliance, on the other hand, has fielded the highest number of women candidates after West Bengal in Uttar Pradesh (eight), Maharashtra (six), Tamil Nadu (six), and four each in Gujarat and Bihar. 

The opposition bloc has fielded the least number of women candidates in Madhya Pradesh (one out of 28) and Kerala (one out of 20). The NDA has given tickets to six women candidates in Madhya Pradesh and five in Kerala. 


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