Guwahati, Monday, February 27, 2017

Manipur polls: Women outnumber males, but few to fight election

Young belles during an election rally in Manipur which goes to Assembly polls on March 4 and 8. – Photo: Corrrespondent
 IMPHAL, Feb 26 - Women voters outnumber male electors in poll-bound Manipur, but when election comes only a few women join the contest. The State goes to polls on March 4 and 8 next.

Though 2001 and 2011 census show more male population than females in Manipur, the women still maintained the lead in the voters lists. Out of State’s 18,93,743 voters, women voters (9,68,312) outnumbered the male voters (9,25,431). But only 11 women candidates were listed among the 266 candidates in the fray across Manipur’s 60 Assembly constituencies. As many as 49 constituencies do not have a single woman candidate.

Even the outgoing Manipur Assembly had just three women legislators – Ak Mirabai, O Landhoni, both Congress and Nemcha Kipgen of Manipur State Congress Party, who later joined Congress.

Manipur’s first woman member of Parliament, Kim Gangte, who recently joined BJP, strongly feels that politics without women is like a home without women.

“Women must work harder and be determined to fight elections. For this, she has to convince herself first, the family and then the society”, the former CPI MP told The Assam Tribune. “Women must have the mindset that they also be successful in politics. So, we have to start and fight with a target whether we loose or gain”, she added.

Like the ruling Congress and opposition BJP’s two women candidates each, rights activist Irom Sharmila’sPeople’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) party has also nominated just two candidates including herself while Manipur National Democratic Front, National People’s Party, Trinamool Congress, Lok Janashakti Party and Independent account for one each.

Recently in a TV discussion session, Manipur’s first Muslim woman candidate representing PRJA, Najima Bibi, who is contesting the Wabagai constituency in Thoubal district, opined that women should raise their voice to convince the men as they hardly understand the women’s grievances.

Women in Manipur have been taking an active role in shaping the history of the State. Two Nupi Lan or women’s war in 1904 and 1939 against the exploitation and artificial famine triggered by the British imperialists, is a landmark event in the State’s history not to speak of the Meira Paibi, the popular women movement in the present day and Nupi Keithel in Imphal, Asia’s largest all women marketplace.