Despite parties making tall claims about the passage of women’s reservation bill to increase participation of women in the political process, the ground reality is totally different.
When it comes to Jharkhand, not a single woman is there among 42 contestants who are in the fray from Jamshedpur, Giridih and Lohardaga Lok Sabha seats. All the three will go to polls in the first and second phases. Out of 10 LS seats which will go to elections in the first and second phases, there are only 12 women candidates. There is only one woman candidate each in Ranchi, Palamu and Hazaribagh.
The battle ground for the first two phases of elections is almost ready with the end of nomination filing and subsequent scrutiny. Elections for the first phase for Jharkhand will be held on April 10 while the date for the second phase is April 17.
A total of 172 candidates are in the fray after scrutiny for the 10 Lok Sabha seats out of which only 12 are women. After scrutiny and withdrawal of nomination papers for the first phase, altogether 62 candidates are in the fray from Palamu (13 candidates), Koderma (20 candidates), Lohardaga (9 candidates) and Chatra (20 candidates).
For the second phase, 110 candidates’ nominations have been accepted. These include 18 from Giridih, 29 from Ranchi, 15 from Jamshedpur, 15 from Khunti, 12 from Singhbum and 21 from Hazaribagh.
Interestingly, woman workers of major political parties are not surprised at the poor turnout of woman candidates in this election.
“The main objective of any party is to win a particular seat anyhow. So, women candidates get tickets only when the party sees the prospect of her wining,” Usha Pandey, the BJP women’s wing state president, said.
She added that all parties make claims of fielding women in elections, but hardly follow it. “Parties hardly have faith in women candidates. Women mainly get tickets on companssionate grounds,” she said.
With the nomination for the two phases coming to an end, the election commission is speeding up its observation. VS Sampath, the chief election commissioner, will be in Ranchi on March 30. He will talk to different political parties on that day and take stock of poll preparations with deputy commissioners of the districts concerned.
The director general of Election Commission of India, Akshay Rout, was in Ranchi on Wednesday. He urged media houses to cooperate in increasing the voting percentage and also keep a vigil on paid news.