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Have women candidates been reduced to proxies?

The number of women in the MCD is set to go up by 45% this year. But most don’t see this as a step forward for women and consider them as just proxies for their politician husbands and sons.

delhi Updated: Apr 13, 2012 00:45 IST
Hamari Jamatia

The number of women in the MCD is set to go up by 45% this year. But most don’t see this as a step forward for women and consider them as just proxies for their politician husbands and sons.

This is not surprising considering their politically active husbands, sons and relatives have been doing most of the electioneering. In some cases, they are even giving interviews on behalf of the woman candidates.

In Qasabpura, which includes areas such as Bara Hindu Rao and parts of Daryaganj, sitting councillor Imran Ismail got the BJP to issue a ticket for his 68-year-old mother Noor Bano, after the ward was reserved for women.

According to residents of the area, Bano is very rarely seen campaigning. It is mostly her politically active son, who attends public meetings. “I have only seen Noor Bano on the hoardings put up in the area,” said Khurram, a resident.

This is confirmed when the son picked up on calling the number listed for Noor Bano at the BJP state office. He said that he was at a meeting, minus his mother of course.

When asked how she would handle being a councillor, Ismail said that his father had been a councillor before and so Noor Bano had enough experience of politics through him.

“She does not always accompany me while campaigning, but I have been a councillor and I can help her out in her day to day working,” said Ismail.

In Kalkaji, Congress sitting councillor Khavinder Singh Captain has got a ticket for his wife Narender Kaur Captain. Pamphlets distributed by the candidate include a picture of the husband, who manages her PR work from the office. Narender, however, does her own campaigning.

“Since I have been a councillor, it is but natural for me to help her out as her election agent. She is a strong candidate and good orator. She will make a good leader,” said Khavinder.

We are not so sure about Sunita Rawat, BSP candidate from Mayur Vihar Phase-I. When we call to ask her about a point in the party manifesto, she quickly hands over the phone to her husband Surjeet Singh. Singh is another BSP candidate, who is contesting from a nearby ward. The couple has listed the same number in their contacts, but it is clearly the husband who is in charge. “Ask me what you want to ask,” he said.

But not all women are looking to their male relatives to do their campaigning. Many like state BJP president Vijender Gupta’s wife, Shobha Vijender, are doing their own work.