There will be no woman member from Kerala in the new Lok Sabha. Ironically, according to the data from Election Commission, women voters accounted for 52% of the total votes polled in the state. There were 25 women candidates in the fray with nine candidates from the three main fronts – five from NDA, three from LDF and one from UDF- but none prevailed.

UDF victory indicates that women voters have stood with them as they have always won whenever there has been a higher turnout of female voters. “This is an indication that gender did not matter, but women voters have exercised their political choice very clearly. The poor economic situation in the state seems to have influenced the decision of women voters,” said D Dhanuraj, chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research.

Experts said that for women voters, anti-incumbency centred around the economic situation that affected the home budget. State going for direct confrontation with Centre, non-availability of provisions in Supplyco and govt outlets, have worked in favour of UDF as it was felt that this could only get worse if NDA made a comeback. The better bet was being with the main national opposition party – Congress. State’s debt situation has affected families in terms of welfare pensions, delay in implementation of schemes and promises of subsidies, tax hikes, etc. This is likely to have garnered votes in favour of UDF.
“From 2009, Kerala has supported UDF in general elections as they have felt that LDF in Lok Sabha was insignificant. There is a growing awareness among women about the significance of a Lok Sabha poll and assembly poll and where this vote should go,” said K M Sajad Ibrahim, psephologist and political analyst with Lokniti. “We will need to look at the breakup of data, but first reports indicate that women have also voted for Suresh Gopi and Rajeev Chandrashekar in large numbers,” said Ibrahim.

News Published in Times of India

Views expressed by the author are personal and need not reflect or represent the views of the Centre for Public Policy Research.

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