BJD to field 33% women candidates

BJD to field 33% women candidates

New Delhi: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during a sit-in dharna, demanding the Centre to increase Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Jan 8, 2019. (PTI Photo/Ravi Choudhary) (PTI1_8_2019_000095B)

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Sunday announced to field woman candidates in 33% of the Lok Sabha seats in the state during the forthcoming polls.

The announcement was made by Chief Minister and party president Naveen Patnaik at a women’s rally in Kendrapara district. However, no such announcement has been made for Assembly seats. Odisha will have simultaneous polls for the Lok Sabha and the state Assembly.

“The announcement will create a history in the entire country”, Patnaik said.

The state has 21 Lok Sabha seats which will go to polls along with 147 Assembly constituencies. At present, the BJD has four members in Parliament — three in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha.

The Opposition described the announcement as an election eve political stunt. “The chief minister announced 33% reservation for women candidates for LS seats. He didn’t do the same for Assembly polls. This demonstrates the BJD’s double standard”, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters. The view was echoed by state Congress.

The BJD has been playing the woman card since about a year now. Last year, it had passed a resolution in the state Assembly for 33% reservation for women in Parliament as well as in assemblies.

It had sought support of all major political parties in this regard. The regional outfit had also formed several groups consisting of party MPs, MLAs as well as senior leaders to make personal visits to leaders of different political parties to seek support.