Lok Sabha polls 2024: Garhwal's women voters laud BJP's 'pro-women' schemes, flag delay in rehabilitating Chamoli victims

In addition to the welfare schemes, the passage of the women's reservation bill by the BJP government in Uttarakhand will sway the women voters of Garhwal towards the saffron party
Last Updated : 13 April 2024, 08:34 IST

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Chamoli, Uttarakhand: The passage of the women's reservation bill and the 'pro-women' schemes might help the BJP's fortunes, but the delay in rehabilitating victims of the Chamoli disaster is concerning, women voters in Uttarakhand's Garhwal region have said.

The high rate of unemployment in the region, the rising prices of essential commodities and the Agnipath scheme were some of the other troubling issues for the women voters ahead of Lok Sabha polls in the state.

Rashmi Nautiyal, a resident of Chamoli district, said the participation of women in politics has increased over the last few years and they are learning to take a stand for themselves.

"We have seen several women-oriented schemes being launched by the government here. As a result, women are getting a sense of participation in the polls," Nautiyal said.

"Earlier, women used to follow male members of their family, however, now they are taking a stand for themselves," she added.

According to official data, the Garhwal region has more than five lakh women voters.

The BJP has fielded Anil Baluni from the seat, while the Congress has chosen Ganesh Godiyal as its candidate.

Aarti Thapliyal from Chamoli said women are more aware of their rights and they are actively participating in politics.

"The awareness among women has increased nowadays. There was a trend earlier that a woman would be a ‘Gram Pradhan’, but her work was being looked after by her husband. She was there just to sign official documents."

"However, now women are more aware of their rights, and they are actively participating in politics," Thapliyal said.

In addition to the welfare schemes, the passage of the women's reservation bill by the BJP government in Uttarakhand will sway the women voters of Garhwal towards the saffron party, said Pooja Naithani, a resident of Rudgraprayag.

Last year, Uttarakhand Governor Lt Gen Gurmit Singh (retd) had given his consent to a bill providing 30 per cent horizontal reservation to domiciled women of the state in government jobs.

The Uttarakhand Public Services (Horizontal Reservation for Women) Bill, 2022 was passed by the state assembly on November 29, 2022.

The local women said the BJP government in the state was successfully running women-oriented schemes like the 'Nari Sashaktikaran Yojana', 'Mahalakshmi Yojana', 'Vatsalya Yojana', 'Anchal Amrit Yojana' and the 'Poshan Yojana'.

They also praised the BJP-led central government for the effective implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana which provides free cooking gas connection to adult women of poor households.

However, some of the women said some serious issues were being faced by the residents of Uttarakhand that are not being addressed properly.

"We have been asking the government to resettle the victims of the Chamoli disaster, but nothing is being done. This is one of the aspects which needs to be addressed," Anjali Shah, a local resident.

"Apart from this, the BJP-led government is working for the women, and they have an edge in the upcoming polls," she added.

The 2021 disaster in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand resulted in over 200 dead or missing.

Sarojini Devi, a resident of Tehri, appreciated the development work done by the BJP government but said that it also needs to focus on other issues also like rising employment and price rise.

"Also, the Agnipath Scheme is hurting the youth of the hill areas. Their dream of joining the Army has now been shattered. This is the area where the government needs to work before the polls. I have two kids and both are in the Army, however, now youngsters are not enthusiastic about this," Devi said.

"The government is doing good work for the development of the state. The roads are in a much better condition now. We can give them (BJP) another chance," Devi added.

In June 2022, the government rolled out the Agnipath recruitment scheme for short-term induction of personnel with an aim to bring down the age profile of the three services.

It provides for recruiting youths between the age bracket of 17-and-half years and 21 for four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years.

The elections for five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand will be held on April 19 in the first phase.

Published 13 April 2024, 08:34 IST

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