BJP, Congress again show women aversion in Himachal polls

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, October 20: Himachal Pradesh politics by all accounts may qualify to be most averse to women. The state is setting up for a direct contest between two national parties, and both have again showed that they patronize the political patriarchy in the hilly state.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has released names of candidates for all the 68 Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh. The party has fielded a total of six women candidates. The saffron outfit has essentially not fielded even nine per cent women candidates for Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.

Five years ago, the BJP had done none better, for the party had again then been cold to the idea of the larger participation of women in the hilly state. Ironically, former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Prem Kumar Dhumal had introduced 50 per cent reservation for women in the Panchayati Raj. Most of the states now have about 50 per cent reservation for women in the Panchayati Raj institutions.

If the BJP is averse to promoting women in politics despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoking ‘Nari Shakti’ on a number of occasions, Congress too is in the same patriarchy boat, fielding just three women candidates in its first list of 48 candidates. This is despite the fact that Congress in the past boasted of women leaders such as Vidya Stokes.

The outgoing Himachal Pradesh Assembly just had three women MLAs out of the total strength of 68. Political observers explain that Himachal Pradesh remains a conservative society where the women are not expected to lead in politics. That is despite the fact that there a number of constituencies such as all the five in Hamirpur district where the women voters outnumber men. Also, the women voters’ turnout has consistently been higher in Himachal Pradesh elections.

Ironically, women in Himachal Pradesh had been late starters in the electoral politics, as they contested for the first time only in the second Assembly elections of 1967.

Congress, which has fielded only three women candidates, would be banking on the party’s national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to lead the campaign charge in the absence of her brother Rahul Gandhi who is leading the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, and is currently walking in Andhra Pradesh.

The B JP’s six women candidates in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections are — Maya Sharma, Indira Kapoor, Reeta Dhiman, Sarveen Choudhary, Reena Kashyap and Shashi Bala. Congress’ three women candidates in the elections are — Aasha Kumari, Champa Thakur and Dayal Pyari.

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1 thought on “BJP, Congress again show women aversion in Himachal polls

  1. What an interesting read! The topic of women in politics has been debated about over the decades. While there appears to be hope in politics in certain states, it’s important to note that the participation of women in certain states is miniscule. Thank you for throwing light upon the same!

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