Political parties talk big but women kept out

Promise safety to women but on the contrary Congress, BJP field just 11 women candidates for Delhi polls

New Delhi is covered with posters assuring safety to women and the problem outlines big in party manifestos but on the contrary very few women have made it to the list of candidates for the December 4 assembly polls.

As per a study by the Association for Democratic Reforms, there are just 69 women among the 796 candidates fielded by the major political parties counting the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the first time runners Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

This is a gloomy 9 percent, much less than the 33 percent reservation demanded by the pending women reservation bill that offers that seats be retained for women in state assemblies and parliament.

A woman Chief Minister is heading the Congress government in Delhi from last 15 years, but the party has fielded only six women contenders, which is 8.5 per cent of all candidates.

The BJP has fielded five women candidates, which is 7.5 per cent of its total 66 contestants and has left four seats to its partner Akali Dal (Badal).

Whereas, AAP has also fielded six candidates, equal to Congress.

The number of tickets given to women candidates by the three top running parties is in sharp contrast to population of women voters in Delhi.

According to electoral roll, a total of 1.19 crore people are entitled to vote out of which over 53 lakh are women and 66 lakh are men.

In the 70-member Delhi Assembly, there are currently only three women representatives – Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Kiran Walia and Barkha Singh.

In an informative reality about the troubles women face, at least 13 candidates have stated crimes against women, counting BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan who has been booked on a charge related to word, gesture, or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.

Social activist Ranjana Kumari told IANS, “The political parties want women to vote for them but they will not field women candidates… The only argument that comes from the political parties is that a candidate that can win will be given the ticket and that is how criminals and tainted people become candidates. Those with criminal background can bully or buy the votes and that way half of the population is pushed away from decision making.”

In 2008 elections, total 57 women candidates were in the battle. The parties asserted that fielding less number of women runners was not ‘intentional’ but ‘circumstantial’.

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