Mamata Banerjee, the only woman Chief Minister in India at present, has pushed for 38 per cent women’s representation from her party in the 18th Lok Sabha, the highest by any political outfit in the country.

The feisty mass leader from West Bengal, who is one of the few women party supremos in India, has handpicked a set of spunky women to fight the Lok Sabha Elections 2024, and these ladies have stolen the spotlight in an otherwise androcentric political system of India.

Eleven of the 29 elected Lok Sabha MPs of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) are women. Banerjee’s chosen set are an electric mix ranging from corporate top-brass like Mohua Moitra; street fighters and steadfast loyalists like Sajda Ahmed and Mala Roy; professionals (doctors) like Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Sharmila Sarkar; actors like June Maliah, Racha Banerjee, Satabdi Roy and Sayoni Ghosh; and other leaders like Mitali Bag and Pratima Mondal.

Amongst her MPs, the combative Mohua Moitra – a vehement Modi-critic – has often been trending on social media for her fiery speeches in the Parliament and the steadfast opposition to ‘divisive politics’.

Moitra’s maiden speech in the Parliament, opposing the Motion of Thanks on June 25 2019, where she took on the Modi government point-by-point despite many interruptions from the ruling benches and spoke on the “seven signs of fascism” criticising the BJP-led ruling coalition stole the limelight. And she has never looked back since then.

In local West Bengal politics, actor Sayoni Ghosh – who was subsequently elevated as President of the youth wing of the TMC has made her presence felt as someone who has taken on the Opposition.

RS representation

In Rajya Sabha too, Banerjee’s women brigade is a reflection of her outspoken nature. Her Upper House MPs like Dola Sen have often taken to task members of the ruling party, while there are others like Mausam Benazir Noor and Sagarika Ghose who have been making strong statements.

Incidentally, 2024 was the first election after passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.

Overall representation dips

There will be at least 73 women MPs in the 18th Lok Sabha (13 per cent) as against 78 in the 17th Lok Sabha (14 per cent).

In addition to the 11 MPs of the Trinamool, the Lower House will have at least 30 women MPs from the BJP (13 per cent of 240) and 13 from the Congress (14 per cent of 99). The SP has four, the DMK will have three, and JD(U) will have two.

Major names gracing the Parliament now would include Kangana Ranaut and Hema Malini from the BJP, Supriya Sule from the NCP, Sharadchandra Pawar, and Misa Bharati from the RJD, among others. This year, there will be some young faces, with 25-year-olds Shambhavi Choudhary of the LJP, Priya Saroj of the Samajwadi Party, and Sanjana Jatav of the Congress entering Parliament.

Women constituted 48.41 per cent of India’s population in 2022.