KOCHI: Kerala’s political scene is steaming up like never before and women voters, who outnumber men in large numbers in all constituencies, will be playing a decisive role in selecting the winners during this general elections. The state has over 8 lakh women voters than male voters as per the data of the Election Commission as on January 30, 2019.
Experts say the women in Kerala are politically and socially alert while casting votes though they remain largely quiet, occupied with daily chores and other responsibilities. J Devika of Centre of Development Studies (CDS) said, “It’s an irony there are only a token number of women candidates for political parties in Kerala where women voters play a crucial role in selecting a winner.”
“Women in Kerala do not know their strength. If they collectively take a decision, they can rewrite the history of the state. Political parties never consider women in the state as a political force. Earlier, women used to go by their independent decision in casting votes for candidates. We hope the women in Kerala are still politically independent and it will definitely reflect in the election results,” she said.
While the NDA and the UDF believe issues like Sabarimala and farmers’ death will have an impact on the women voters, the LDF is harping on its renaissance movement, pitching equal rights for women. “The society is abuzz with these issues which have changed the mood of voters, especially women voters. Political parties are trying hard to engage with women voters for electoral gains. But, when it comes to giving equal representation for women in elections, the political parties refuse to accept the ground reality,” said activist K Ajitha.
As one extrapolates the electorate data, Attingal has the highest number of women voters (7,05,109) followed by Pathanamthitta (6,98,718) and Thiruvananthapuram (6,90,695).Political parties are using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp to reach out to voters, mainly young and women voters. Of late, parties in Kerala are organising local-level family meets to connect with the women voters. “There are specific women groups in almost all political parties to conduct door-to-door interaction with the women members of every family,” said a senior political leader.