Women's parties want mainstream backing for LS polls

Women's parties want mainstream backing for LS polls

National Women's Party founder Shweta Shetty (4th from L) along with the party members unveils the party's symbol and flag for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI

With weeks to go for the general elections, two all-women parties have formed an alliance to join the fray for the first time, fielding their candidates in 283 Lok Sabha constituencies with a mission to secure 50% reservation for women in Parliament.

The National Women's Party (NWP) and the All India Women United Party (AIWUP), both registered as national parties, announced their alliance for the Lok Sabha polls here on Monday, appealing to mainstream parties to back their candidates.

They also unveiled their election symbol—bangle for Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar—and a gas stove for the rest of the States. The party symbols have been allotted to the alliance of two parties by the Election Commission of India.

The NWP was formed in Delhi in 2012 by Shetha Shetty, a Hyderabad-based doctor while the AIWUP was formed by a group of women in Delhi consisting of activists, environmentalists, professionals and others in 2014.

"We are going to contest elections for the first time since the formation of our parties," Shetty, chairperson of the NWP, told DH.

Among the NWP members are Padma Venkataraman, daughter of former president R Venkataraman; Naina Jadeja, sister of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja and actor Nithya Menen, who played J Jayalalithaa in the late Tamil Nadu chief minister's biopic.

"We endorse the Beijing Declaration on Women's rights, which is also a UN Declaration, granting equal rights on all decision-making processes, including the political system. Today we ask political parties to allow us to win 50% of the seats that we are contesting, if they are serious about gender parity and addressing women issues," said AIWUP president Nasim Bano Khan said.

The NWP will field its candidates for 208 Lok Sabha seats, while the AIWUP will field candidates in 75 seats.

"Our mission is to secure 50% reservation for the women in Parliament," Shetty said.