Men still outnumber women in West Bengal Assembly

When Mamata Banerjee, set to be the first woman chief minister of West Bengal, walks into the Assembly, she will find that men still dominate the House as only 37 of the total 294 MLAs are women.

Last Updated: May 14, 2011, 18:45 PM IST

Kolkata: When Mamata Banerjee, set to be
the first woman chief minister of West Bengal, walks into
the Assembly, she will find that men still dominate the House
as only 37 of the total 294 MLAs are women.

Banerjee an MP since 1984 has donned the mantle of
being the only woman Railways Minister twice. She will require
to enter the House within the stipulated six months time.
She will find solace that of the 37 women 24 are from
her own Trinamool Congress. Besides, the number of women MLAs
this time is two more than in 2006 when there were 35 of them
and only three from TC.

The number of women MLAs this time will be six from her
alliance partner Congress, while the Left Front has sent in
seven.

The largest number of six women candidates - all of
them from TC have been sent to the House from South 24
Parganas district, where the zilla parishad and all the four
Parliament seats belong to the party.

The district has returned Mamata`s close aide Sonali
Guha and also added glamour to the House by sending in
Tollywood star and national award winner Debashree Roy.
Right behind is Kolkata and North 24 Parganas, which
have elected four women each belonging to Banerjee`s party.
North 24 Parganas returned four out of the five TC women
candidates.

Mamata will find her party veterans Sashi Panja,
at present a mayor-in-council in Kolkata Municipal Corporation
and Smita Bakshi in the House among the representatives from
Kolkata, where all the 11 seats have gone to the TC kitty.

East Midnapur has elected three women MLAs, all from
TC, including from Nandigram which had pitchforked her to the
forefront of the movement over land acquisition.

Hoogly has returned two women TC MLAs, while Malda
and Nadia have sent in one each.

The Jangalmahal districts, the hotbed of Maoist
activities in the state where Banerjee campaigned extensively
in peak summer, have not disappointed her sending a candidate
each from West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura districts.

Her alliance partner Congress too has been able to get
two of its women candidates elected from West Midnapore and
Bankura districts, besides one from Malda and three from
Murshidabad.

The number of Left Front women MLAs have plunged in
line with the fate of the Front with their number standing at
only seven this time compared to 27 in 2006.

Jalpaiguri has elected two LF women candidates, one
from RSP and one from CPI-M this time, besides another two
from the red citadel of Burdwan district. Both the women MLAs
from Burdwan are from CPI-M.

West Midnapore, Bankura and South Dinajpur have sent
in one woman LF MLA each.

None from BJP, which contested in all the 294 seats
have made it, as is also the case of independents.

Out of the total 1,792 candidates in the fray this
time only 177 were women. Of them 41 were fielded by CPI-M,
four by All India Forward Bloc and one by RSP.

TC fielded 33 candidates and Congress nine.

BJP had 23 women candidates and Mayawati`s Bahujan
Samaj Party, which had no members in the House even last time,
had fielded 11 women candidates. The number of independent
women candidates was 29.

West Bengal`s only woman governor was Padmaja Naidu,
daughter of poetess Sarojini Naidu, right after Independence.

PTI