Women win municipal polls, but it's still the husbands who rule

Backseat driving
Last Updated 21 March 2013, 19:16 IST

The women have utilised the reservations provided by the government well, but the dominant men remain in the drivers’ seats.

Which is why, many women who have won the municipal elections this year are yet to truly get representation. There have been attempts to lure the husbands as well.

The day the poll results were declared, Congress party members informed the media that Sujatha, who won the ward 23 seat in the City Municipality, had joined the party. The picture given to the mediapersons, however, did not have Sujatha in it.

Instead, it only had a picture of Sujatha’s husband Narayanaswamy being honoured by the Congressmen.

A couple of days later, voters in the City were given handouts in gratitude for the victory, by the Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress members. The pamphlets carried the names and pictures of eight Congress candidates and one Independent who had won the elections. In two cases, again, it was the husbands’ pictures, not the wives’!

‘Wife’, not ‘winner’

Shabana Azmi won from ward 32 the second time. But in the handout, her name was given as merely ‘W/O Afsar Pasha’, along with the husband’s picture. The case was similar with Sujatha.

The only photograph of a woman who won was that of Mahalakshmi, from ward 15.
M L Anil Kumar, president of the District Congress Committee, expressed ignorance of such preference in the party handouts for the husbands’ pictures and names along with sidelining of the winning women.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Anil Kumar said, “The photographs of the winning candidates themselves should be used. Failing to do so would be an act of injustice. The printers of the handouts will be spoken to about the matter.”


In the press conference called by the JD(S) the day after the declaration of results, women candidates were given seats in the last row and had to make do away from the limelight, despite the party doing well in the polls.

Religion attributed

When asked about the matter, men from the minority communities give religion as the reason for not printing the women’s photographs in the handouts.

“Women in our religions are conventionally not permitted to show their faces,” say some of the men.

There have also been instances reported during filing of nominations where women candidates refused to even show their faces and insisted that they be permitted to remain behind their veils, much to the dissatisfaction of the election officers.

“The national leader of the Congress party is, after all, a woman. Yet, in the handouts, the party members have used the husbands’ pictures instead of their wives, who actually won the elections. While on the one hand this is an act of injustice, the Congress party also exhibits the male-dominant attitude of using the women as merely puppets to reach out to vote banks,” said V Geetha, leader of the Democratic Women’s Forum.

(Published 21 March 2013, 19:14 IST)

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