With women voters outnumbering male voters in the first two of the five-phase Bihar assembly polls, they have emerged as a prominent vote bank — more powerful than the youth and caste factor in the state.
A large number of people voted in the first and second round of Bihar assembly polls on Monday and Friday, respectively.
An election commission official said, “Unlike youths, women in large number voted in Bihar in the first and second phase of polls.”
In the second phase polling, around 54.82 percent of the 8.58 million electorate voted in 32 of the 243 constituencies.
Chief Electoral Officer Ajay V. Nayak said 57.50 percent of the women voted against 52.50 percent male voters.
Similarly, in the first phase on October 12, around 57 percent of the 13.5 million electorate voted, 59.50 percent of the women voted against 54.50 percent of the male voters.
The official said, “It is really a positive development that more women have voted this time.”
According to Nayak, long queues of women voters were seen outside polling booths in both phases. He said, “It may continue in remaining three phases on 28 October, 1 and 5 November.”
Poll watchers said this was a result of several schemes initiated by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for women’s empowerment.
The government has reserved 50 percent posts in Panchayati Raj elections and primary school teachers’ recruitment for women and 35 percent of all police jobs for women.
The government’s scheme to promote education among girls by providing them free cycles has increased school enrolment in rural areas.
More than women in urban areas, those in rural areas were seen in queues outside the polling booths.