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Tripura voters' gender ratio pips national average

By The Assam Tribune

Agartala, Jan 7 (IANS): With 964 females to 1,000 males in the voters list, Tripura's gender ratio is much higher than the national average of 640 per 1,000.

According to political analysts, in the country's lone Left-ruled State, representation of women in local government bodies and other elected institutions was also better than in many States of India. The gender ratio among voters is consistently narrowing in Tripura, where tribals constitute a third of the 3.7 million population.

"The gender ratio in Tripura was 933 females to 1,000 males during the 2004 Lok Sabha polls. It increased to 954 in 2009 and has gone up further to 963 before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections," Chief Electoral Officer Ashutosh Jindal told IANS.

The gender ratio has further risen to 964 in the final electoral rolls that were published Monday, he said.

The national gender ratio in the electoral rolls is 640 females to 1,000 males.

According to the final electoral rolls, published after a three-month special summary revision of photo electoral rolls with Jan 1, 2015 as the qualifying date, 2,422,764 voters, including 1,189,138 females, have been enrolled in Tripura. This shows an increase of 1.62 percent from last year's rolls.

In the last assembly election in February 2013, women cast more votes than men.

"In the 2013 assembly polls, 90.89 percent of the total of 1,198,970 males voted while 93.02 percent of the 1,156,476 females exercised their franchise," Jindal said.

Tripura made electoral history in the 2013 polls when a record 93.57 percent ballots were cast. The state recorded 92 percent polling in the 2008 state election.

"Since the first election in 1952, this was an all-time record in the electoral history of India," Jindal said.

According to the Election Commission, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the states where voter turnout crossed 80 percent were Nagaland (87.82 percent), Tripura (84.72 percent), Sikkim (83.37 percent) and West Bengal (82.16 percent).

Renowned political analyst Tapas Dey said: "Political consciousness among both tribals and non-tribals in Tripura is very high. Unlike other states, male leaders in Tripura always try to empower women, both politically and economically."

According to an election commission official, 57 percent of the electorate (2,422,764) in Tripura was below 40 years of age.

In the panchayat elections held in July last year, for the first time, more than 50 percent seats in gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zila parishads were won by women.

"Tripura is the only state where 50 percent seats were reserved for women - both in the three-tier gram panchayats and in village councils under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council," Panchayat Minister Manik Dey said.

Tapas Dey, however, said that though in the electoral rolls, women outnumbered men in four northeastern states - Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh - the number of women in the legislative assemblies of these states "is depressing, if not worse".

"Of the total 466 seats in the assemblies of seven northeastern states, only 24 members (5.15 percent) are women," he said.

Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland have no women in the assemblies. Of the 60-member assemblies each in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, there are only three and two female legislators, respectively.

Assam has 14 women lawmakers among 126 elected representatives while Tripura has five women lawmakers in the 60-member house.

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