Bihar polls: Is Nitish Kumar banking on silent force of women voters to retain throne?

·3-min read
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (File photo)
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (File photo)

Patna (Bihar) [India], November 10 (ANI): Fighting anti-incumbency and multiple other challenges, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is banking on the "silent force" of women voters to swing the odds in his favour in the recent Bihar Assembly elections.

Counting of votes will begin at 8 am on Friday the day the results of bitterly fought elections will be finally out.

According to Bihar Election Commission's data, the state witnessed an overall turnout of 57.05 per cent, which was 0.39 per cent higher compared to 56.66 per cent in 2015.

However, the turnout of female voters was 59.7 per cent, which is lower than 60.4 per cent in 2015 Bihar Assembly elections. Notably, the voting percentage among women voters was 59.5 per cent in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

In the first phase of polling on 71 seats, covering 16 districts of south Bihar, voter turnout of men was 56.83 per cent against 54.41 per cent women.

However, in the second phase opolling, the female voter turnout was higher on 94 seats across 17 districts on November 3, when 58.80 per cent women voted as against 52.92 per cent men.

Similarly, in the third phase, the women's voter turnout was 65.54 per cent, which was the highest in the three-phase assembly polls this time.

As many as 23 of Bihar's 38 districts reported a higher voter turnout of women than that of men.

Nitish Kumar in his public meetings had stressed the incentives that his government initiated for girl students, including the much-touted bicycle scheme, Rs 55,000 grant and other benefits till graduation and the 50 per cent reservation for women at the panchayat level and the 35 per cent quota for them in the government jobs.

The Janata Dal-United (JDU) chief also highlighted about how the fertility rate among educated girls has come down over the past few years.

In 2015, Nitish Kumar rose to power for the third consecutive time on the promise of introducing a state-wide liquor ban.

After he became the Chief Minister, he delivered on his promise to female voters and formally introduced the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016, even at the cost of dipping state revenues.

Bihar is also a state which has an adverse sex ratio in its population with 918 women for every 1,000 men in the 2011 Census showing a decline in both general sex ratio and child sex ratio over 2001 Census align with faring poorly in general vulnerability index for the way it treats its women.

Surprisingly, women have performed better compared to men while participating in elections in recent times as the voting percentage of women voters has improved from mid-42 to 60.

After the exit poll results, Nitish's banking on the support of women voters is not looking to favour him which has raised Mahagathban chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav's hopes of becoming youngest chief minister of Bihar. (ANI)

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