Bastar: Women voters outnumber men in a majority of seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes which are going to polls in the first phase on November 11 in Chhattisgarh.
Official data shows that there may be more male voters among 1.68 crore electors in the state but when it comes to constituencies dominated by tribal population, women take the lead.
As many as 13 seats are reserved for ST candidates out of a total of 18 seats which are facing elections in the first phase. Women are more in numbers in at least nine seats.
However, both major political parties, Congress and BJP, have preferred male candidates in a majority of seats.
Official sources said female voters are more in numbers in a majority of 29 seats reserved for STs in the 90-seat assembly of the state.
BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi made it a point in their rallies to woo woman voters by underlining their power in the tribal belt of the state.
Modi said in his rally in Kanker, where female voters number over 81,000 against close to 76,000 male electors, that more educated urban India could learn a lesson from them at a time when female foeticide had distorted sex ratio across the country.
Besides Kanker, women outnumber men in Konta, Chitrakot, Dantewada, Bijapur, Bhanupratappur, Bastar, Keshkal and Kondagaon.
Among the prominent woman candidates fighting elections in the first phase of polls are Lata Usendi, who is Woman and Child Development Minister, and Devati Karma, wife of slain Congress leader Mahendra Karma.
Usendi is fighting from Kondagaon on BJP`s ticket while Karma is Congress candidate from Dantewada.
"There is no discrimination against women in tribal population. However, we would like to catch up with other communities in terms of education and employment," Umesh Baghela, a Dantewada resident who works for tribal empowerment, said.
He lamented that despite making up for more than 70 per cent of the population in Bastar region, tribal men and women have little say in the local economy.