Women leaders are expected to be big players in the Lok Sabha elections despite the fact that none of them has been projected as the prime ministerial candidate by rival alliances.
Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati, Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee are set to play key roles in the elections and the post-poll scenario. In fact, these leaders are expected to set the agenda in these polls as never before in Indian politics.
Political analysts say no future government is likely to be formed without the active support of some of these leaders.
Gandhi is the Congress President and Chairperson of the ruling UPA which is trying hard to retain power, while BSP chief Mayawati’s victory in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections two years back is viewed by the analysts as a “defining moment” in the country’s politics.
Former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa is a leading light of the South, who is upbeat about the prospects of her AIADMK and allies in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry where anti-incumbency seems to be in her favour.
In West Bengal, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has emerged as a power to reckon with.
Recently, Congress heavyweight Pranab Mukherjee has personally approached Banerjee for the electoral tie-up and she is willing. It highlights the clout the TC chief wields at a time when things are not that rosy for the ruling Marxists in their citadel -- West Bengal.
Likewise, Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan is no pushover despite losing power recently. The party has also always relied on Sushma Swaraj to project BJP’s championing the cause of Indian women.
“These women leaders will decide the political destiny of the country”, said NCP General Secretary DP Tripathi who once taught political science at the Allahabad University.
Brinda Karat of the CPI-M too is an important figure in the Left movement and is a Politburo member of the party.
Interestingly, neither the Congress-led UPA nor the BJP-led NDA is projecting a woman leader as its PM candidate. Manmohan Singh, who was nominated to the high post by Gandhi five years back, is the ruling alliance’s PM candidate and the opposition combine has long back named veteran LK Advani.
Suhas Palshikar, a professor at the Pune University, said it was interesting that the election would see several important women leaders setting the agenda for the polls for the first time in many years.