LUCKNOW: It was not without the reason that PM Narendra Modi extended his gratitude to the other half of the population after BJP’s win in Uttar Pradesh.
The saffron brigade retaining power can be attributed to women, who seem to have consolidated behind the party over a slew of issues, including free ration, gas cylinders and improved law and order.
This silent bloc of voters stood accounted for 40% of the electorate in UP. They rose above caste and social barriers and even went beyond the familial patriarchal call to side with the Yogi government, which sent them to ration twice a month, ensured their security and provided them with houses and toilets (izzat ghar).
Out of the UP’s 15 crore voters, nearly 7 crores are women, according to the latest Election Commission data. Women, who used to play a much smaller role in elections earlier, are becoming more aware of their political choices and that has led to their increased participation over the years.
In UP this time, the average voting percentage of women was more than their male counterparts. Over 62.2% of women voted as against 59. 6% men. Even promises of freebies including 300 units of free electricity by the Samajwadi Party failed to make any difference.
After realizing that Yogi government’s free ration was working wonders on the ground, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav announced his government would also provide free ration if voted to power.
At the same time, SP kept reminding women voters that BJP’s free ration scheme would get over in March. But this ploy failed to drift women away from the saffron camp.
While the Modi government sent free ration to the poor, the Yogi government doubled it up with ration from its own end.
Improved law and order had a great resonance on the ground across the state, especially in western UP.
The anti-Romeo squad seemed to have instilled fear among goons who used to harass women and girls. Women in rural pockets were impressed by the houses they got under PM Awas Yojna.
They believed that living conditions would be better under BJP.
More woman voters
In UP this time, the average voting percentage of women was more than their male counterparts. Over 62.2% of women voted as against 59. 6% men.