Political parties reluctant to field women in Valley

Political parties reluctant  to field women in Valley

Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir may frequently talk about women empowerment and reserving 33 per cent of seats for them, but the dismal number of women contesting the 2014 Assembly elections exposes their reluctance to practice what they preach.

The National Conference (NC) has given ticket to six women while opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), led by a woman, Mehbooba Mufti, has fielded only one women candidate. The Congress, led by Sonia Gandhi, has fielded three women and the BJP two. The list of candidates announced by parties for five phase election is male-dominated and apart from a few known names, they hardly contain any woman candidate.

NC candidate from Noorabad constituency in south Kashmir and Minister for Social Welfare in the outgoing Omar Abdullah government, Sakina said women entering politics is still seen as a taboo. “That is why women generally shy away from politics,” said Sakina, who is contesting polls for the fourth time.

Her entry into politics was also accidental. Sakina’s father Wali Mohammad Itoo was killed by militants in 1994, forcing her to contest the polls in 1996 Assembly elections. She had to leave her MBBS midway.

She feels that the prevailing situation in the Valley is not conducive for women to join politics. “If the situation was normal, more women would have participated,” she said.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, who entered state politics in the late 90’s, feels that women need to come forward in politics. “If not 33 per cent, we must at least have 15 per cent reservation,” she added.

The president of the Peoples Democratic Front Hakim Mohammad Yasin opined that politics in general was male dominated. “Women generally tend to remain reclusive from politics,” he told Deccan Herald.

Renown sociologist, Prof Bashir Ahmad Dabla said women’s participation in political process was nominal because of the ongoing conflict in the state. “Politics here comes with a lot of risks. Moreover, people here are not committed to the ideologies of the mainstream political parties so they stay away from it,” Dabla told Deccan Herald.
DH News Service

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