Imphal: After Mizoram, Manipur is the second Indian state where women voters outnumber men. However, the number of female legislators in the state assembly is minimal.

The outgoing ninth assembly has only one woman member in the 60-member house -- O. Landhoni Devi, wife of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

According to an election department official, all the six women, except Landhoni Devi, who stood for election in 2007 lost the race to their male rivals.

Manipur has a total electorate of 1,740,820. Out of this, 889,497 are women and 851,323 are men.

Besides Manipur, another northeastern state, Mizoram has 308,884 women voters as opposed to 302,240 male voters out of a total electorate of 611,124.

“However, very few women enter the political fray and even those who do are rarely elected,” prominent Manipuri writer and intellectual Rajkumar Kalyanjit Singh said.

Several women organisations have been actively spearheading the campaign for women candidates in the state assembly polls.

“Despite constant pressure from various women organisations, very few women candidates were fielded in the previous elections by the political parties. Unfortunately, most of the female nominees were unsuccessful in the poll battle,” said Women Action for Development secretary, Sobita Mangsatabam.

Political parties, including the rulling Congress, Communist Party of India (CPI), the main opposition Manipur People's Party (MPP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and their allies in Manipur are gearing up to reach out to the electorate. They are also busy in selecting their nominees in the crucial polls.

Polls would be held in Manipur on Jan 28. Counting of votes will be done on March 4.

(Agencies)