Women’s power dominates Shimla municipal elections, 61 percent of elected members are women

After a resounding public mandate to Congress after a gap of 11 yrs, the role of the fair sex in India’s oldest Shimla Municipal Corporation also became historical as the town was being led by a woman mayor for the last six years and in the new house there would be 21 or 61 percent women councilors. In an article published on April 9 2023 by Himachal Headlines before the election process began formally, it was predicted that women candidates may outdo men in the Shimla MC poll. It was published before the SMC poll that in the corporation role of women, candidates could not be confined to their expected number as out of 34 total wards 50 pc that is 17 were already reserved for women and SC women candidates.

Since state Panchayat Raj Institutions and Local Self government have increased the reservation for women from 33 percent to 50 percent the role of women in the city government became apparent.

The demographic profile of voters who participated in the Shimla MC poll was mainly dominated by men but in two wards of Shimla MC women voters outdid men in terms of having more woman voters compared to men or women despite having low voters in the wards excelled the men in the turnout. According to SEC in Annandale Ward, 906 out of 1528 male voters cast their vote while 938 out of 1548 female voters did cast their vote. Out of a total of 736 male voters, 483 voted while out of total 684 female voters, 581 women exercised their vote in Bhatta Kufar Ward.  

The state election commission stated that in the polling held on May 2 for Shimla MC total of 29504 males out of a total of 49760 voters cast their vote while out of a total of 44160 female voters, 25881 women exercised their vote. Therefore percentage was 59.29 percent of male voters and 58.60 percent of female voters who exercised their vote. The turnout of women and elderly people could not be more since it was raining till afternoon and polling began on a low note.

For the first time in any election the number of women candidates not only exceeded men as out of 102 candidates there are 54 women candidates. BJP had given a ticket to 23 women candidates, Congress 18, and CPI to one candidate.

The outcome of the election has brought about a significant shift in the political landscape of gender representation as the Congress party emerged victorious with a landslide win. However, what is even more interesting is the fact that women have outnumbered men in the house, making up a staggering 61 percent of the elected representatives in this new house.

In Shimla MC, out of 34 seats, Congress won 24 and BJP won 9 and one was won by CPI(M). Out of 34 seats, a total of 21 women candidates won the electoral battle, and they represent 61 percent of the house. Congress would have 14 woman councilors in the new house and BJP 7.

The victory of 21 women in the polls marks a significant milestone in the fight for gender equality in India’s political sphere. It is a testament to the fact that women are not only capable but also eager to take up leadership roles and make their voices heard. It is a welcome change from the traditional male-dominated politics that has been prevalent in the country for far too long. The fact that women have come out on top in the Shimla MC polls is a positive sign for gender equality advocates across the country.

This change should also impact the candidature of both the main parties for the Shimla Vidhan Sabha seat. Herein rarely a woman candidate is ever proposed. The Shimla MC election and the role of women also give a signal to national politics that women could break the glass ceiling in politics and could outdo men as they did in the Shimla MC elections. About 100 percent literacy in Shimla and increasing representation of fair sex in every walk of life is interesting. In Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha only one woman was elected in the 2022 assembly elections. Political parties are running away from the woman reservation bill which is pending in parliament for decades.  

Women by virtue of reservation for the top post of Mayor in Shimla MC have been served efficiently for the past two terms as so far women elected as mayor of Shimla were Jaini Prem ( elected first Mayor of Shimla), Madhu Sood (Congress ), Kusum Sadret and Satya Kaundal from the BJP. There are three women Congress councilors for the 2nd and 3rd terms this time. 

Uma Kaushal for 3rd term from Totikandi ward belongs to a veteran congress family and is the front runner for the post of mayor. Former CPI(M) Councilor Kanta Sayal was elected from Kaithu open ward on a Congress ticket. Similarly Congress for 2nd term from Nabha (reserved)  wards. Siminadha from Nabha (reserved). She fought a legal battle in the high court against the delimitation of Shimla MC wards. Other Congress-elected woman councilors are Urmil Kashyap from Annadale (SC reserved), Monika Bhardwaj Totu (reserved),  Amita Sharma Majhyat(Reserve), Kiran Sharma, Kachighati ( reserved), Sushama Kuthiyala, Rambajar(reserved), Umang Banga, lower Bazar ( reserved ) Sheenam Katariya Benmore(open), Mamata Chandel Sanjouli choke ( reserved), Vishakha Modi Lower Dhali( reserved),  Shanta Verma, Malayana (reserved ) and  Rachana Bhardwaj, Vikasnagar(reserved).

BJP woman candidates were elected from Ruldubhata(reserved), Saroj Thakur, Bharari (open) Meena Chauhan, Upper Dhali- Kamlesh Mehta(reserved), Panthaghati(reserved) Kusmum Thakur, Kasumpti( reserved) Rachana Jhina Sharma, New Shimla (reserved) Nisha Thakur and Patyog(open) Asha Sharma.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *