"As long as women of India do not take part in public life, there can be no salvation for the country".  He further declared, "As long as . . ...Women do not come to public life and purify.. .. We are not likely to attain swaraj".  "Ever if we did", he added, "It would have no use for that kind of swaraj to which women have not made their full contribution." -Gandhiji, 1925.

The definitions of democracy indicate that there must be people’s participation. Without the participation of its citizens, democracy becomes meaningless. Political participation is the hall mark of a democratic setup. Nature, success and effectiveness of democracy largely depend on the extent to which equal, effective and actual participation is provided by the system to all its citizens. As women comprise about half of the population, this section of society requires due attention in the system and a due share in process. Citizens' active participation in political affairs in a democracy is crucial and necessary because it provides legitimacy to the system and also strengthens the democratic fabric (Palmer, 1976, p.50-57). Democracy will fail in its objectives if women citizens lack equal opportunity to participate in the governmental decision-making process. They are to be equal partners in the nation-building and political development.

In this perspective, the present paper is an attempt to examine the extent of women’s participation in the electoral fray and representation of women in the formal political structures of West Bengal as well as it also focuses on the statements of selected women legislators of West Bengal regarding women’s political participation.

Key Words: Electoral Politics, Women Participation in Politics, Representation in Electoral Process.

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