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Karnataka Election 2023: Mainstream political parties have never given proper representation to women

Karnataka Election 2023: Every time Karnataka has gone to elections, major political parties like BJP, Congress, and JD(S), have never given proper representation to women.

In the last Karnataka Assembly election in 2018, out of the total of 224 seats, women won only 7 seats. In April this year, BJP’s Mahila Morcha president Vanathi Srinivasan said the party is focusing on women’s welfare and that 50% of the beneficiaries of government schemes were women. Congress’s Rahul Gandhi announced free public bus commute for women and Rs 2,000 per month to every woman head of a family. Not to be left behind, JD(S) is wooing women voters by announcing loan waivers for self-help groups. It also announced Rs 6,000 allowance for pregnant women for six months. The party further promised Rs 1,600 hike to the widows’ pension amount over the existing Rs 900.

However, despite such tall promises, the state has failed when it comes to empowering women by electing them to the assembly.

Total 185 women candidates in 2023

This year, there are a total of 185 women candidates out of the total 2,613 contenders. This is a significant drop from the 219 women candidates in 2018. The Congress fielded 15 women candidates, BJP 6, and the JDS fielded only 4.

In 2013, 175 women contested the polls. Out of them 159 candidates lost their deposits. While six candidates made it to the assembly, just two were given berth in the Cabinet.

For the upcoming elections, women’s representation by the three largest parties is less than 5%.

Women’s Representation Bill

The BJP promised to introduce the Women’s Representation Bill in Lok Sabha in its election manifestos in 2014 and 2019. But that turned to be a tall order. In Karnataka it has fielded only 12 women candidates for 224 constituencies.

JD(S) is no better. It gave tickets to only 13 women. The only defence both these parties have is that they have fielded more women this year than 2018.

Congress on the other side has lowered its number of women contestants to just 11. The party, which introduced the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha and passed it in 2010 with 186 votes, failed to bring it up for discussion in Lok Sabha. That resulted in its expiry in 2014. Even in March this year, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh sought to claim credit for supporting the Bill, which stipulates 33% reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state legislatures.

Literacy rate 75.36%

Karnataka, which has a literacy rate of 75.36% (2011 census), has an especially poor record of electing women. While the 17th Lok Sabha elections gave the country the highest number of women MPs, Karnataka still seems to be lagging in case of women representatives. The state has never elected women in double digits, save for three occasions: 13 in 1957 (Mysore Legislative Assembly Election), 18 in 1962, and only 10 in 1989.

Here are the statistics of women candidates in the state post Independence.


1952: 0 women candidates


1952: 3 winners

1957: 13 winners out of 24 candidates

1962: 18 winners out of 30 candidates

1967: 5 winners out of 9 candidates

1972: 0 winners out of 24 candidates


1978: 8 winners out of 30 candidates

1983: 1 winner out of 34 candidates

1985: 8 winners out of 108 candidates

1989: 10 winners out of 78 candidates

1994: 7 winners out of 117 candidates

1999: 6 winners out of 62 candidates

2004: 6 winners out of 101 candidates

2008: 3 winners out of 107 candidates

2013: 6 winners out of 175 candidates

2018: 7 winners out of 219 candidates

Also Read: Viral Video: Fearless Feline Steals Prey from Crocodile, Leaves Internet Stunned, watch video

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