Women Voters hold key for many Assembly seats in Bengaluru District

Women are one sizable voter segment in Bengaluru district that none of the political parties can afford to ignore in the forthcoming Karnataka elections. This is especially true for young women who are first-time voters there.

According to data that is available with the election commission with respect to the induction and enrollment of new voters, it is has been observed that more women have got themselves enrolled on the electoral list in the last few months compared to men as fresh voters. The number of new women voters registered with the EC was 1.7 lakhs as found out from the comparison of the final voters’ list published at the end of February this year and the draft voters’ list which was published in November 2017. And a large section of the new enlisted voters are first-time voters.

Nearly half of the voters that are enlisted in the electoral roll for the 28 assembly seats in the Bengaluru district are women. There are 42 lakh female voters out of a total of 88 lakh electorate, according to N Manjunath Prasad, Bengaluru district election officer. “Even the gender ratio of the voters’ list has improved by 2 percent between the draft and the final list,” Prasad said.

There is almost the same number of female voters as there are male voters in some of the assembly constituencies such as Jayanagar, Malleswaram, Sarvagnanagar, Shivajinagar and Rajajinagar, according to people in the state election commission. And therefore, these women voters can significantly impact the outcome of those seats for various political parties. On the other hand, there has been a rise in the number of women registering to vote in some of the other adjoining assembly constituencies such as Pulikeshinagar, Basavanagudi, Padmanabhanagar, Yeshwanthpura, Yelahanka and Shanti Nagar.

For a democratic set up like India, participation of more women in the electoral process and the registration of more women voters is a positive indicator, according to KS Vimala of Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane. “Having said that, participation of registered voters in the polling exercise is key,” Vimala said. “Also, they should be able to decide their vote and their choice should not be influenced by family members or employers.”

One of the reasons for the increase in the number of female voters in Bengaluru could be the rising rate of migration into the city and those migrating are probably feeling the need to get a voter ID card to gain a sense of identity and belonging to the city as well as accessing other benefits, says Vimala.

“In order to help freshly enrolled women, voters, to make informed decisions in an election, the election commission should use modern tools such as social media to reach out to them,” she said. “Women should also try and understand the policies of the political parties before casting their vote.”

There has also been a simultaneous increase in the number of female voters for the assembly elections this year of 13 percent in comparison to the number during the last assembly elections. While there was a total of 2.13 crore women voters during the last assembly elections of 2013, the final electoral list for this year’s assembly elections has names of as many as 2.44 crore women voters. There were 2.26 crore female voters during the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 in the state.