Imphal: Manipuri society may be predominantly
woman but politics has remained a male bastion for ages.
Women voters have outnumbered men since the 1990 polls.
But, they have not been able to make their presence felt in
the political scenario of this picturesque state in northeast.
Out of a total of 17,40,819 eligible voters, 8,89,497 are
women who will decide the fate of 279 candidates, including 14
women aspirants, in the Assembly elections slated for January
Poll officials said there are 14 women candidates of whom
10 are from the four valley districts and the remaining four
from the hill districts.
The lone woman legislator O Landhoni, who is the wife of
Chief Minister M Ibobi Singh, is contesting as a Congress
nominee from her native Khangabok seat in Thoubal district.
In contrast, there were just six women candidates in the
last Assembly elections.
L Mema, president of Manipur Keithel Phambi Apunba Lup, a
woman vendors` body in IMA Keithel, the biggest of them
managed by the fair sex in the region, says women have not
dominated politics as they have done in the society because of
lack of proper financial support and heavy social
"The women unlike their men counterpart do not resort to
muscle and money power to fight the poll," she said.
"There are chances of women winning the poll if there is
free and fair poll without the use of money and muscle power,"
says Mema, leader of Meira Paibi, an anti-liquor body.
So far the Assembly has just seen four women MLAs
including sitting member Landhoni with the other former MLAs
being Keisham Apabi Dev, Hamingla Shaiza, and Wahengbam Leima
Except the constituencies of Karong, Tadubi, Kangpooki
and Thanlong, female voters outnumber males in all the 60
"The male dominance in politics apart, the fate of the
candidates in the January 28 poll will be decided by women
only," says T Nenie Haokip, a woman activist.
This time 14 women candidates including three from
Congress, two from Manipur State Congress Party, one each from
BJP, CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress, are in the fray against
the six in the previous 2007 polls.