With the Punjab assembly elections approaching, the women’s wing of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is to begin its three-day ‘chintan’ (introspection) programme on May 6 to work out strategy.
The venue will be Gurdwara Paonta Sahib in the serene environs of the Yamuna river banks in Himachal Pradesh. Three years ago, in April 2013, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal had taken the party leaders to Goa for a similar brainstorming session. “The Goa visit, of which I was also a part, was very fruitful, but since I want Akali women workers to have a religious bent of mind, we’ll gather at a gurdwara,” said party’s women’s wing president Bibi Jagir Kaur, who will lead the touring party of nearly 250 women.
The wing’s state- and district-level office-bearers, besides zila parishad members and other activists will be packed in five luxury buses and taken 120 kilometers from state capital Chandigarh. “The three-day programme will include recreation, Gurbani recital, and lectures on women’s empowerment,” said Bibi Jagir Kaur, adding: “Women are keen to learn the nuances of election campaigning. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is emerging as a strong contender and the SAD can’t afford to keep any end loose.”
“Women have an advantage in campaigning,” she said, “Only they can enter any house, bedroom, or kitchen, to reach out to women voters, who can further get us their families’ votes. Male campaigners cannot step beyond the main gate of many homes.”
She said she would teach the woman workers to conduct themselves politically and win people’s confidence. She will address the session on development, leadership qualities, women’s role in the party, and social and religious values. The part will screen a documentary on its history, besides animation movie ‘Char Sahibzade’, at the venue.
The camp will conclude on May 8, with an open house in which delegates will be free to raise any issue of her choice. “The women’s wing will use these lessons to make a strategy for each district and rally in the run up to the polls,” said Bibi.