Guwahati: The highest number of women candidates, since the first general elections, are contesting the three phased 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Assam with 16 candidates in the fray, five more than the 2009 Parliamentary elections.
Among the 16 candidates are two sitting MPs ? BJP`s Bijoya Chakravorty from Gauhati and Union Tribal Affairs Minister Ranee Narah of Congress from Lakhimpur ? both being nominated by the party from the same constituency again.
The Congress has also given ticket to two sitting MLAs ? Jonjonali Baruah from Morigaon and Sushmita Dev from Silchar.
While five women candidates contested in the first phase on April seven and two in the second phase on April 12, nine are in fray in the third and final phase of polls in the state on April 24.
The Congress has put up three candidates, the BJP and AGP one each, Aam Aadmi Party three, All India Trinamool Congress and SUCI (Communist) two each, CPI-ML(L) and Samajwadi Party one each and two Independents.
The women candidates in the third phase include BJP`s Bijoya Chakravorty and Samajwadi Party`s Bandana Barman Barua from Gauhati, SUCI(C)`s Khurshida Anowara Begum from Barpeta, All India Trinamool Congress`s Zesmina Khatun from Dhubri, and Aam Aadmi Party`s Namrata Sarma and SUCI(C)`s Swarnalata Chaliha from Mangaldoi.
Nagaon has the highest number of three women candidates in the fray which include Congress`s Jonjonali Baruah, AGP`s Mridula Barkakoty and Independent Selima Khatun.
Assam has so far sent only 15 women candidates to the Lok Sabha since the first General Elections in 1952 with the highest being only two candidates in six General elections.
In 2009, 11 women candidates contested the polls with only two winning while in 2004, four candidates were in fray but none managed to win.
In 1996 and 1999, nine candidates contested each of the polls with only one and two women winning the respective polls while in 1991, none of seven contesting candidates could manage to win.
There were no women candidates in 1980, 1984 and 1989 while in the first General Elections of 1952, none of the two contesting candidates won the polls.
It was only in 1957 that both the contesting women candidates won the polls while in 1962, two of the three contesting candidates managed to make it to Parliament.
In 1967 and 1971, only one candidate could make it in each of the polls while in 1977, two women won the elections.
Women candidate`s highest share of 14.3 percentage of the total votes polled was registered in 2009.