Karnataka elects the highest number of women MLAs since 1989

This the first time since 1989 that the number of women in the 224-member Assembly has crossed double digits

Samreen Wani New Delhi

Congress leaders and workers celebrate at the party office as the party leads in early trends on the vote-counting day of Karnataka Assembly polls 2023, in Bengaluru | Photo: PTI

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Voters have elected 10 women to the Karnataka Assembly polls, making this the highest tally since 1989.

Of the women who won this time, there were four candidates from the Congress, four from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and one from the Janata Dal (Secular) and one Independent. As many as 185 women contested in this election.
The two national parties, the BJP and Congress, had fielded 12 and 11 women candidates, respectively, in the 224 constituencies in this election. In 2018, the voters elected just 7 women, or 3.1 per cent of the 219 women contestants, to the state Assembly.

The state has consistently failed to elect more than 10 women MLAs since 1989, despite an increase in the number of women contestants. Back in 1957, the first election to the Assembly of Mysore after the linguistic reorganisation of the state, 13 of the 24 contesting women made it to the Assembly. In 1962, 18 women made it to the state Assembly of the 30 who were in the fray. 
Among the winning Congress candidates were Laxmi Hebbalkar from Belgaum Rural, Roopa Kala M from Kolar Gold Fields, Nayana Motamma from Mudigere, and Kaneez Fathima from Gulbarga Uttar.

Manjula S from Mahadevapura, Shashikala Jolle from Nippani, Sharada Puryanaik from Shivamogga Rural, and Bhagirathi Murulya from Sullia won on a BJP ticket.
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Ahead of the state polls, Congress’ Hebbalkar had demanded that the party consider choosing a woman as the chief minister. This was perhaps a reflection of the fact that women electors outnumbered men in exactly half the seats in the Assembly, 112 out of 224.
But going by past trends this seems unlikely. In each of the past three Assemblies, only one woman has been made a Cabinet minister out of a total of 36 available posts. 

First Published: May 13 2023 | 7:40 PM IST

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