Parties adjusting to the new gender reality

Here we come: No dearth of women aspirants anymore?

The three prominent political parties in the State, not known for their gender sensitivity, seem to have adjusted to the new reality.

Although the parties have not developed a cadre base among women that can throw up leaders, party spokespersons say there is no shortage of aspirants for tickets among women who have become politically empowered by the 33 pc reservation that was introduced nearly 15 years ago.

Till recently, the common excuse of all parties for not giving enough number of tickets to women was the non-availability of “winnable” women candidates to contest elections.

But the reservation in PRIs and the impending reservation in higher representative bodies have made them sit up and take notice.

Enquiries made by Deccan Herald with leaders of various political parties revealed that on an average three to five women are claimants for tickets to seats reserved for them.

Manjula Naidu, KPCC women’s wing president, said there has been visible change in women empowerment in rural areas. “In some places there are not less than eight aspirants. The reservation for women began nearly 15 years ago. So, women politicians are available in good numbers and also they have become assertive,” she said.

Is it not true that dummy women politicians are filling in for the men? “Women workers who are eager to contest elections, are protesting denial of opportunity by men politicians who are trying to field their wives. This I noticed in Bijapur. But even men, over the years, have developed broader outlook,” Naidu said.

KPCC general secretary Ramachandrappa too endorsed Naidu’s views. He said women who have been elected representatives would like to recontest. “In some reserved constituencies, where it might be difficult to get women candidates, we may have to make our men workers to field their wives,” he said.

That view is echoed by G Chandranna, president of Bangalore rural JD(S) and Sacchidananda Murthy, BJP general secretary, Bangalore urban district.

Murthy, who is busy in scrutinising applications for 34 ZPs and 73 TPs in Bangalore urban, said many educated women have sought tickets. “Professionally qualified women are eager to enter politics. Only for reserved category, we may have to compromise in selections due to non-availability of suitable candidates,” he said.

Chandranna, a native of Devanahalli, said there was no dearth of eligible women candidates. “We are getting application in 1:5 ratio. The JD (S) has many women workers who are keen on entering active politics,” he said.

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