LUCKNOW: Minutes after the formal announcement of fielding 40% women candidates in the 2022 Vidhan Sabha elections, the Congress party also ran several hashtags and creatives to pump up the campaign. Positioning the upcoming election as ‘Bharat ki naari banaam Sarkar atyachari’ in its creatives, the Congress indicated that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was raising issues that affect life of people particularly women and she pushed the Yogi Adityanath led government on the back foot. One such creative said: “Lashon ki giniti jari hai… Ye hukumat jo hatyari hai; Kali rat mein nikal padi jo… Woah Hind ki nari hai.” Referring to the turn of events in the Lakhimpur Farmers’ death case, the creative said: ‘Woah hunkari woan garaji, himmat na usne khoi… Daikh hausle uske pasth ho gaye sattadhari… Sangharsh uska rang laya, satta ka jhukna jari hai… Kab tak rokege usko, woah toh bharat ki nari hai.” Political analysts have noted that women voters have acted as a deciding factor in the past few elections. In the 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections, for instance, 63.2% of female voters pressed the button while only 59.4% of male voters headed to the polling booths. Women had outnumbered men in the 2012 elections too. But at that time, the margin of difference between the two categories was barely 1.4%. The previous Vidhan sabha election – held in 2007 – however, saw 41.9% women and 49.3% male voter turnout. Incidentally, the coming of the BJP government in 2014 and its repeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is also linked to women voters. More recently, the results of Assam, Kerela, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal elections also established the rising significance of women’s role in shaping political outcomes. Social scientists believe that with women voters becoming a force to reckon with, issues concerning women can no longer be ignored and left to simmer on the back burner. Analysts lauded the Congress move stating that this was the first formal attempt to consolidate women voters with ‘sisterhood’ as the common thread. But the outcomes of this will see if the class of women matters in the well laid chessboard of caste and religion which is characteristic of Uttar Pradesh.

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