Women are kingmakers
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Women are kingmakers

April 21, 2024
  • Mysuru-Kodagu seat has 15,000 Stree Shakti Sanghas and over 20,000 Self-Help Groups
  • Of 20,92,222 voters, 10,26,324 are men, 10,65,714 are women, the deciding factor

Mysore/Mysuru: The prestige of many hangs in the balance as the Lok Sabha elections approach, with political parties, particularly Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) alliance, strategically manoeuvring to outwit each other in the old Mysuru region.

With women voters outnumbering men, the focus lies on securing the faith of these crucial voters, whose unwavering support could make or break the fortunes of candidates in the running. As Congress and BJP-JD(S) alliance engage in a head-to-head battle ahead of polling in this region on Apr. 26, both parties are vying to win over women Self-Help Groups (SHGs), a significant chunk of voters who have the potential to sway others towards a particular party or candidate.

Mysuru district comprises 11 Assembly Constituencies with a total of 27.42 lakh voters (27,42,108), including 13.5 lakh (13,50,840) male and 13.91 lakh (13,91,043) female voters. However, only Krishnaraja, Chamaraja, Narasimharaja, Chamundeshwari, Hunsur and Periyapatna Assembly Constituencies fall under Mysuru-Kodagu Lok Sabha Constituency.

The remaining Constituencies — Varuna, T. Narasipur (SC reserved), Nanjangud (SC reserved) and H.D. Kote (ST Reserved) Assembly Constituencies — come under the Chamarajanagar (SC Reserved) Lok Sabha Constituency. K.R. Nagar Assembly segment is the sole Constituency in Mysuru district falling under the Mandya  LS seat.

However, focusing on the Mysuru-Kodagu Lok Sabha seat, which also includes two Assembly segments of Kodagu district — Madikeri and Virajpet — there are a total of 20,92,222 voters, comprising 10,26,324 male, 10,65,714 female and 184 belonging to the third gender.

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In previous general elections, it has been observed that women voters have emerged as kingmakers, with their unwavering support capable of deciding the winning potential of any candidate. Political parties are thus making concerted efforts to attract a large number of women voters.

Mysuru district boasts over 10,500 Stree Shakti Sanghas, women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and dedicated women’s organisations that are actively involved in various activities. Among these, approximately 1,500 groups are belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) alone. In Kodagu district, the estimated number of Stree Shakti and SHGs ranges from 3,500 to 4,000.

Additionally, several other SHGs are operating under the guidance of organisations such as the Organisation for Development of People (ODP) and the Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP). Together, Mysuru and Kodagu districts host around 18,000 such women’s organisations.

During the previous Lok Sabha elections held in 2019, Mysuru district witnessed a voter turnout of 70 percent, with male voters constituting 71.8 percent and women 69 percent of the total turnout. 

Now, the district-level Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) Committee is working diligently

to increase the voter turnout percentage. As part of their efforts, SVEEP is conducting voter awareness campaigns primarily focusing on workplaces, both in private and public enterprises, garment factories and other places where women form the majority of the workforce.

Every vote we cast holds immense value

Every citizen of the country holds an equal right in the Indian democratic system, without any room for discrimination, as envisaged by our Constitution. Whether a monarch or a labourer, rich or poor, all are entitled to exercise one vote of equal value. We should seize this opportunity and elect our representative. This election plays a significant role in bringing the grievances of the State to the Centre and influencing its development.”

“With the onset of summer vacation for school children, parents often prefer to go on tours, paying scant regard to voting. Every vote we cast holds immense value, a fact not all are aware of. We must vote in this election and exercise our Constitutional right. Elections are like festivals of the country, and by voting, we also create awareness among our children.

The only way to prove that I am a citizen of this country with Constitutionally empowered rights is through voting. I am casting my vote in this Lok Sabha polls. My Vote is My Right, and by casting it in favour of a better candidate, I will be entitled to enjoy all the privileges of this country.” — Prema Bodhi, social activist

“With a general holiday declared on the day of voting, people should not forget to vote, as it determines the security of the country. Voting is the right and duty of all, which should be exercised without fail. — K.R. Sowmya, social activist

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