By Sundeep Pouranik
Bhopal, Feb 5 (IANS): The upcoming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are extremely crucial for both the Opposition Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party which are busy formulating poll strategies.
Both the parties are specially targetting the female voters, which form half of the population in the state, through their respective election campaigns.
Ahead of the state Assembly elections due this year, both the parties are busy formulating their poll strategies respectively.
The total population in the state is 5,39,87,876, of which male voters are 2,79,62,711 while the number of female voters is 2,60,23,733. Therefore, of the total number of people polling in the state, the BJP and Congress are going all-out to influence the women voters towards them respectively.
On the one hand, the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh government has increased the participation of women in urban and rural civic body elections, while on the other hand, a provision has been made for including reservation in government jobs.
Apart from this, efforts are underway to make women self-help groups financially 'self-reliant' or 'Aatmanirbhar' under the Madhya Pradesh Livelihood Mission. Now state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced the 'Ladli Behna Yojana' for poor and middle-class women. Under this scheme, Rs 1,000 per month will be deposited in the bank accounts of every woman in the state.
On the one hand the BJP and the Madhya Pradesh government are trying to woo women, on the other hand the Congress has announced a separate election manifesto for women before the upcoming state Assembly elections. This poll manifesto will be titled 'Priyadarshini' named after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
There will be special provisions for women in this poll manifesto, including issues like women safety, socio-economic strengthening of women, etc.
Political analysts believe that both parties are trying to influence women voters, but the burning question arises whether women will get representation as there are 230 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, of which only 21 of them are represented by women MLAs.
In terms of percentage, women comprise half of the total population in the state, but their representation in the state Assembly is nearly 10 per cent. This is the reason that the fight for the interest of women has never been raised vociferously in the Assembly House since there are fewer women representatives who raise the problems related to their concern.
The real question is whether both the parties will field women legislators in the upcoming state Assembly elections on the basis of their total population in the state.