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Haryana

Parties fail women in Haryana again

April 23, 2019 05:58 AM

COURTESY HT APRIL 23

Neeraj Mohan and Sunil Rahar neeraj.mohan@hindustantimes.com
Parties fail women in Haryana again
State’s patriarchal mindset comes to fore as major parties field only six women among 50 candidates in fray for 10 Lok Sabha seats; only women from political families get to contest
KARNAL/AMBALA: Women empowerment remains a distant dream in Haryana. Traditionally a male bastion with a skewed sex ratio and high rate of crime against women, the state has a poor record of fielding women candidates.

This time, there are only six women candidates from major parties for the 10 seats, while the number of male candidates is 44.

The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the state’s oldest regional party, did not give a ticket to any woman candidate.

Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, which forged an alliance with Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) and fielded its candidates on three seats, also did not field any woman candidate.

The JJP has a lone woman candidate in Swati Yadav, who is contesting from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh. This after party leader Dushyant Chautala announced last month that his party will field three women candidates.

Sunita Duggal, a former Indian Revenue Service (IRS)

officer, is the only woman candidate of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party from Sirsa (reserved) seat.

Even the Congress, which promises 33% reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies, gave the ticket to only two women candidates, Kumari Selja from Ambala (reserved) and state legislative party leader Kiran Chaudhary’s daughter Shruti from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh. Both women are from political dynasties.

The BSP-LSP alliance has fielded Raj Bala Saini from Sonepat and Shashi Saini from Kurukshetra. Both are contesting from Raj Kumar Saini’s Loktantra Suraksha Party.

WINNABILITY UNDERMINED

Of the 131 MPs elected from the state since it was carved out of Punjab in 1966, women were elected to Parliament only nine times. Of them, Selja, was elected four times, twice from Ambala (reserved) and twice from Sirsa (reserved), Kailsho Saini from Kurukshetra twice, Chandrawati, Shruti and Sudha Yadav represented Bhiwani, Bhiwani-Mahendergarh and Mahendergarh seats once, respectively.

The constituencies of Karnal, Rohtak, Hisar, Faridabad, Gurugram and Sonepat have not sent a woman to Parliament.

Ranjana Aggarwal, director of the women’s studies and research centre of Kurukshetra University, says parties hesitate to field women as they undermine their ability to win. “Women’s representation should be increased. When given an opportunity, women candidates perform better despite getting political, educational and social exposure much later than men,” she says.

University professor Santosh Dahiya says parties don’t give tickets to women because they want to restrict them to rallies.

“Only a woman from a political family gets to contest. Women’s participation in our country is 11% . Despite the passing of the women’s reservation bill in the Rajya Sabha, it could not be passed in the Lower House, showing the commitment of parties towards women’s empowerment,” Dahiya says.

NEGLECTED SECTION

In 2014, the BJP-HJC(BL) alliance did not field any woman candidate. OP Chautala’s INLD and the Congress fielded a woman candidate each. In 2009, the INLD-BJP alliance pitched only BJP’s Sudha Yadav from Gurgaon, while the Congress gave the ticket to Selja and Shruti Chaudhary from Ambala and Bhiwani-Mahendergarh seats, respectively.

In 2004, the BJP reposed faith in Sudha Yadav from Mahendergarh, while Selja (Congress) and Krishna Malik (INLD) were fielded from Ambala and Sonepat.

In the 1999 election, the BJPINLD alliance fielded INLD’s Kailasho Saini from Kurukshetra and Sudha Yadav from Mahendergarh.

The Congress had not fielded any woman candidate in 10 seats, while Bansi Lal’s Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) fielded its male candidates on both seats.

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