RAIPUR: The Maoist-affected Dantewada assembly constituency has always had more women voters than men but it was only after 2013 that more women than men actually came to exercise their franchise.
Ever since Chhattisgarh state was carved out in November 2000, the assembly seat has witnessed four elections so far.
The by-polls in Dantewada seat were necessitated following the death of sitting BJP MLA Bheema Mandavi. Barely two days before the first phase of polling in Bastar Lok Sabha constituency, Mandavi and four police personnel were killed in a powerful IED blast triggered by the Naxals at Dantewada on April 9.
Now, with more women expressing their choice during poll battles in the predominantly tribal belt, the two major parties -- the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP -- have both fielded women candidates.
There are 98876 female voters out of the 188263-strong electorate and the contest this time is seen to be evenly poised. The region has no gender disparity whatsoever.
Ojaswi Mandavi, the wife of Bheema Mandavi, emerged as the unanimous choice for the BJP to contest against Devti Karma, wife of Mahendra Karma, a senior Congress leader killed in the Darbha ambush (Bastar) by armed Maoists in 2013.
Political parties and analysts believe sympathy votes may act as the key swing factor during the upcoming polls scheduled to be held on September 23.