One may not be able to guess how many women MPs will be there in the next Lok Sabha, but there has been an increase in number of women candidates this time.
An analysis of Election Commission statistics and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report on women candidates showed that in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, there has been an increase of 8.38% women candidates while the number of male candidates has slipped by 4.7% compared to the 2014 elections.
While there were 668 women candidates in 2014 polls, it rose to 724 this time. This is the highest ever number of women fielded in the Lok Sabha election. Male candidates have declined from 7,577 to 7,215.
The ADR analysed 716 of the 724 women candidates this time. With an increase in the number of candidates, the criminal and financial profile of such candidates too has increased.
There are 78 (11%) women candidates who have serious criminal case charges against them this time, as against 51 (8%) last time. Two of them are convicted candidates while four have murder charges against them. As many as 16 were charged for attempt to murder and 14 for crime against women. Seven candidates have cases of hate speech against them.
The BJP tops the list of women candidates with serious criminal cases against them with 13 followed by Congress (10), Trinamool Congress (4), BSP (2) and 21 Independent candidates.
When it comes to finances, there are 255 (36%) women candidates having an asset of more than Rs one crore this time as against 219 (33%) in 2014 elections. The BJP and the Congress have 44 such women, followed by Trinamool Congress with 15 and BSP with 9. As many as 43 independent women candidates have assets worth more than a crore.
With Rs 250.82 crore assets, the BJP’s actress-turned-politician Hema Malini is the wealthiest among women candidates followed by TDP’s D A Sathya Prabha
(Rs 220.48 crore) and Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur (Rs 217.99 crore).
Kaur has the highest increase in assets in the last five years among sitting women MPs as it rose from Rs 108.16 crore to Rs Rs 217.99 crore. Hema Malini stood second, as her assets rose from Rs 178.20 crore to Rs 250.82 crore.
In contrast, there are eight candidates who declared zero assets. One of them is Urmila of Ambedkar National Congress fighting from Jalandhar who declared Rs 295 as her assets.
Among the women candidates, 232 have declared their educational qualification to be between Class 5 and Class 12 while 396 (55%) are graduates or above. Thirty-seven women candidates have declared themselves to be just literate and 26 are Illiterates.