Meghalaya sees decline in women candidates

SHILLONG: There has been a marginal decline in the number of women aspirants given tickets by different political parties for contesting the forthcoming elections in the state. While a total of 21 women candidates had contested the last assembly elections in 2008, the number of women this time around is 18, of which 15 have are being fielded by various political parties and three are going to contest as Independents.

In fact, all political parties point out that very few women aspirants come forward to apply for tickets in the state, a reason why the outgoing assembly had just one lady legislator.

The PA Sangma-led National People's Party has fielded no woman candidate. Party leader Conrad Sangma said, "It's unfortunate that no female aspirant applied for a ticket in our party. Other parties are facing a similar situation. Women are not taking active part in electoral politics over all even though we encourage them to do so."

Congress working president Deborah Marak, a former legislator, says, "I hope all women candidates win this time as we have given tickets to better candidates. We have fielded a total of six women candidates. We gave tickets to almost all those women who had applied and if we have bright women candidates, Congress will definitely give them tickets."

For the forthcoming polls, six women, including chief minister Mukul Sangma's wife, Dekanchi D Shira, have been nominated by the Congress. The Nationalist Congress Party has nominated two women while the Bharatiya Janata Party is fielding one. Among the regional parties, the United Democratic Party has given tickets to five female candidates, while the Hill State Peoples Democratic Party is fielding one.