Only 28 women in Lok Sabha from Rajasthan since Independence

Although women voters are nearly half of the total electors in Rajasthan, the total count of women reaching the Lok Sabha as lawmaker has been 28 in the last 62 years ((1952-2014).

In Rajasthan, women started to contest the Lok Sabha elections from 1952, but registered the first victory in 1962, when a member of the erstwhile Jaipur royal family, Gayatri Devi, was elected from the Jaipur parliamentary seat as the candidate of Swatantra Party, founded by C Rajgopalachari. She remained MP for three consecutive terms – in 1962, 67 and 71.

Apart from Gayatri Devi, other women who made it to the lower house more than once were BJP leader Vasundhara Raje (five times from Jhalawar seat), Congress leader Girija Vyas (four times from Udaipur) and another Congress leader Nirmala Devi (twice from Chittorgarh seat).

Apart from Gayatri Devi, the second woman elected to the Lok Sabha from Rajasthan was Krishna Kumari, who was a member of the erstwhile Jodhpur royal family. She was elected to the parliament as an independent candidate in 1971.

In 1984, former Rajasthan CM Mohanlal Sukhadia’s wife Indubala and Nirmala Kumari won from Udaipur and Chittorgarh Lok Sabha seats respectively. Thereafter, Raje, a member of the erstwhile royal family of Dholpur, entered the parliament from Jhalawar in 1989. She represented the seat for five consecutive terms till 1999, after which she was became the chief minister of Rajasthan.

Interestingly, in 1991, three members of erstwhile royal families in Rajasthan were elected to the Lok Sabha on a BJP ticket. They were Mahendra Kumari (Alwar), Krishnendra Kaur (Bharatpur) and Vasundhare Raje (Dholpur). Congress’ Girija Vyas (Udaipur) was also elected to the Lok Sabha in the same year. Lok Sabha seats won by woman candidates in Rajasthan are Jhalawar and Udaipur (five times), Jaipur, Chittorgarh, and Sawai Modhopur (three times), Bharatpur and Jodhpur (two times), while Alwar, Ajmer, Jalore, Nagaur and Jhunjhunu (once).

Commenting on the representation of women in the Lok Sabha, Senior BJP leader and former Rajasthan women Commission’s chairperson Suman Sharma said, “There is no reservation for women in parliament and this is why less number of women has reached Lok Sabha. In current Lok Sabha, women representation is around 11%-13%. Till the time women reservation bill is brought, this will continue. Women have all the potential and capability to win elections; it’s just that the parties do not give opportunity, which needs to be increased.”

Congress vice-president Archana Sharma said there has been reluctance from the society earlier when it came to bringing women in front in any sector, but things have changed and gradually the representation is increasing. “Our party is promising to bring 33% reservation to women, once in governance,” she said.

Also Read | Lok Sabha elections 2019: Here is all you need to know about Rajasthan

First Published:
Mar 20, 2019 11:28 IST

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