Haridwar, October 13
Finally, Uttarakhand has got its maiden woman Lok Sabha parliamentarian in the form of Maharani Mala Raj Lakshmi Shah from the Tehri Garhwal constituency since the creation of separate hill state on November 9, 2000.
Mala Raj Lakshmi Shah
Mala Raj Lakshmi Shah
Uttarakhand has witnessed two general elections in 12 years. Mala Raj Lakshmi is the third woman who has entered the Parliament's Lower House from Uttarakhand.
Suprisingly, women voters account for a substantial percentage in this state but when it comes to ticket allocation, be it national parties or regional parties, fairer sex are denied political opportunity.
Notably, since independence only three women politicians have made it to the Lok Sabha in 15 parliamentary elections from the Uttarakhand region.
The first one to make it to the House was Maharani Sahiba Kamlendu Mati Shah in first Lok Sabha election 1951 by winning from the Tehri Garhwal constituency which was then known as Garhwal district (West)-cum- Tehri Garhwal district-cum-Bijnore district (North).
Women MPs
  • 1951: Maharani Sahiba Kamlendu Mati Shah - Tehri Garhwal (UP)
  • 1998: Ila Pant - Nainital (UP)
  • 2012: Mala Raj Lakshmi — Tehri, Uttarakhand 
Maharani Sahiba Kamlendu Mati Shah was the grandmother of Maharani Mala Raj Lakshmi.
Contesting as an independent candidate, Maharani Kamlendu garnered 50.94 per cent of total votes polled bagging 68,811 votes defeating Indian National Congress candidate Krishna Singh by a margin of 54,829 votes while Shyam Chand Negi of the Kisan Majdoor Praja Party (KMPP) could just garner 11,452 votes. But since then, it was a long gap of 47 years when another woman politician won a Lok Sabha seat from the Uttarakhand region.
It was Ila Pant, wife of Krishan Chandra Pant who was a four-time Lok Sabha member from Almora and New Delhi. Ila Pant defeated Union Minister and former Uttar Pradesh-Uttarakhand Chief Minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari in a high voltage contest in 1998.As BJP candidate, Ila Pant got 2,92,761 votes while Congress candidate ND Tiwari lost by just 15,577 votes. Her husband KC Pant had lost the Nainital seat in the 1977 elections later moving to New Delhi where he won it in 1984. He had been representing the Nainital Lok Sabha from 1961 to 67 and 71 elections. He had was holding Defence Ministry and Vice-Chairmanship of the Planning Commission.
Another woman candidate who got close to snatching a victory was Renuka Rawat, wife of Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat, in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
As Harish Rawat, who was MP from Almora in 1980, 84 and 89, lost the electoral battle to BJP candidate Jeevan in 1989 and subsequently to the BJP’s Bachi Singh Rawat in '91, '96, '98 and '99 and fielded his wife in 2004.
But Bachi Singh Rawat again won and Renuka got 2,15,690 votes losing by a narrow margin of 10,052 votes only.Now, Maharani Mala Raj Lakshmi has replicated the feat achieved by Maharani Sahiba Kamlendu Mata and Ila Pant entering the Lok Sabha via the bypoll with a victory margin of 25,000 votes against Congress candidate Saket Bahuguna, son of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna who had been a two-time Tehri Garhwal MP.

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