|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
In Meghalaya, women voters outnumber men
January 28, 2008 14:22 IST
Women voters in Meghalaya have outnumbered men, according to the latest electoral rolls published by the state election commission.
There are 6,25,545 women voters as compared to 6,04,607 men in an electorate of 12,30,152 that is expected to exercise their franchise in the state's assembly elections slated for 3 March.
A break-up of the 60-odd constituencies of the state shows that in forty of them, women voters were more than men. In some like Jowai, Mylliem, Mawlai and Jaiaw, women voters were about 20-25 per cent more than men.
Observers attribute this to the matrilineal system followed by the society, unlike in other parts of the country.
"It may be because women are taking more interest in the electoral process. In a matrilineal society like Meghalaya, women, who are inevitably given preference over men, are more conscious about their political rights," said F Kharkongir, a veteran journalist.
Noted columnist and social worker Patricia Mukhim says, "It might have been because of the increase in the population of women as the mortality rate among infants has decreased".
In the Khasi matrilineal society, there is no sex discrimination as in other parts of the country. Here girls are given more preference than men," she says.
However, officials at the election department refused to comment on the issue, saying, "It is difficult to presume the exact cause for the increase in women voters".
Meghalaya's exception, however, contradicts the man-woman population ratio in the state, as according to the 2001 census, for every 1,000 men in the state, there are 975 females. The electoral rolls in the 2003 assembly elections had 6,45,168 men and 6,35,198 women.
Asked about the decline in voters in 2008 election rolls, the state's chief electoral officer P Naik said, "We had done an intensive revision of the rolls and have deleted a large number of dual and doubtful voters. This reduced the number of voters".
Naik said in East Khasi Hills district alone, the names of nearly 4,000 dual voters were deleted after a final scrutiny.
Of the total population of roughly 26 lakhs, there are 1230152 voters in the state, which means almost half of the total population of Meghalaya (nearly 45 per cent) is eligible for voting in the coming Assembly elections.