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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Women voters are majority in 16 districts

CHENNAI : Women power will hold sway in the forthcoming Tamil Nadu assembly election in at least 16 districts in the state where they outnumber the men. Of the 16 districts, Virudhunagar tops the chart with 11,000 more women voters. This is followed by Thoothukudi, Sivaganga, Karur, Perambalur, Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Vellore, Namakkal, Chennai, Nilgiris, Tirunelveli, Ariyalur, Theni, Pudukottai and Madurai where the number of woman voters are more.

The overall trend shows that out of the total 32 districts in the state, both women and men voters were leading in 16 each. And, of the total 45.96 lakh voters in the state, the men squeak past with a difference of just about two lakh. According to the final electoral rolls for 2011, of the 12,32,651 voters in Virudhunagar, 6,22,014 were women and 6,10,637 men. Which means women voters exceed men by 1.9 %.

Chief electoral officer Praveen Kumar said apart from political awareness, many women are empowered in cities like Chennai, Tiruchi, Thanjavur and Madurai. "If one can see the overall indicators of Tamil Nadu, female participation is very high," he said.

"We also organised more than 29,000 programmes across the state to mark the National Voters Day, which falls on January 25 and created awareness."

Virudhunagar collector Dr VK Shanmugam said a high number of men migrating to other districts in search of better paid jobs resulted in more number of women in some districts. Though fireworks and match factories and printing units crowd the district, the men go to western Tamil Nadu and other bigger cities for jobs that are better paid and less hazardous. Shanmugam told TOI that the district administration with the help of ngos, self help groups and chamber of commerce conducted various awareness programmes among women about the importance of joining the electoral process.

The new electoral rolls also indicate that the gender ratio in Vidudhunagar increased from 1,015 to 1,018. (for thousand men, 1,018 women). Virudhunagar thasildar (elections) S Arumugam said most of the women, particularly those in most backward areas of Tiruchuli, Kariapatti and Aruppukottai, are poor. Almost all the women in that area, who are from poor families, are employed. "Moreover, a voter's ID is necessary for them to avail themselves of all government schemes that are currently available. Besides, men mostly migrate to nearby districts such as Madurai, Tirupur and other towns for better jobs, leaving their families behind," he added.

Tuticorin district (5,45,781) followed by Sivaganga (4,28,765) have the next largest number of women voters. In both the districts women outnumber men by 9,826 and 8,159. Interestingly, Chennai is not far behind in terms of high number of woman voters -- 15,14,621 women and 15,12,275 men. The city also has the largest number of constituencies after delimitation -- 16. The number of voters in the district is 30.27 lakh. Interestingly, the figures last year for Chennai show that the number of male voters was marginally high compared to women.

Villupuram district has largest number of male voters, 11,48,077 as compared to 11,14,382 woman voters. The district is followed by Salem, Tirupur, Krishnagiri, Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Tiruvallur, Kanyakumari, Kancheepuram, Coimbatore, Erode, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvannamalai, Ramanathapuram and Dindigul.

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