Husbands, sons decide for women

Eighty-year-old Nafiza Begum is the head of a family of 16 members. She was, however, briefed by her grandson on “which button to press” before she reached the polling booth.

“Before my husband used to decide who I would vote for. After his passing away, it is usually my son or grandson. Our entire family voted for change,” said the octogenarian.

Shehnaz Banu had a similar story to tell at a polling booth in Ajmere Gate.
“Ours is a joint family. The male members usually decide who we should vote for. And it is best to abide by their decisions as they are never wrong,” said the 45-year-old woman.

However, she is convinced of the choice only after she is offered a logical reasoning, added Banu. “It is not like I am following his choice blindly as he tells me the reason why a candidate is fit to get votes. There is no point in electing the wrong candidate to power.”

Fifty-six women had voted at the Ajmere Gate polling booth, which had seen 211 votes till 11.30 am.

While most of the middle-aged and elderly women believed that they can trust the male family members, a few others saw it only “as a consultation”.

“After my husband said voting for change is necessary, I reconsidered my decision,” said Kauser Begum at Turkman Gate. Her husband Mohammed Iqbal intervened, “We decided together whom to vote for.” Voting for the same party for years is “just a tradition” that 70-year-old Dhanmanti wants to keep alive even after her husband passed away.

“I work as a domestic help in five houses at this age. The Congress or jhaduwala will do for me what it will for anybody else. I vote for the party my husband used to. What is the point of experimenting?”

In Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Diwan Hall Road, a group of women said “it is always the in-laws’ choice”.

“I was actually in a fix. While my parents support BJP, my in-laws are loyal Congress supporters. You know whose choice I had to go with,” chuckled Anuradha Sharma, 42.
However, most women voters between the age of 18-35 said they like to take their decisions independently and would not be influenced by male members of their families.

Neha Gupta, 21, said, “It is an absolutely independent decision whom I will vote for. I voted for a party which would encourage development.”

Yasmin Tahrir, 35, considered options available before she cast her vote.  “My primary concern was women’s safety issues as I have a school-going daughter and curbing price hike. I voted for the party which I thought would be able to address these two issues.”

At a Kundewalan polling booth, one Manisha Gupta said, “I voted for change, rather only gambled.”

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