It's about wooing women groups | india | Hindustan Times
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It's about wooing women groups

Political parties are going all out to woo women's self-help groups, which have emerged as influential vote banks.

india Updated: May 06, 2006 13:43 IST

Political parties are going all out to woo women's self-help groups, which have emerged as influential "vote banks" in rural areas of Tamil Nadu.

If the present trend continued, it would be a blessing in disguise as the SHGs might replace the caste factor in next polls, averting post-poll caste clashes in the state, political observers feel.

The SHGs have helped large number of women in starting their own businesses either in groups or individually, with banks extending loans to them. Most of these groups teach women skills like making candles, baskets, shoes etc.

Though the SHGs were present in the state for more than a decade, they gained significance only recently with the political parties, with an eye on their votes, started doling out special offers for them.

While the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has been trying to make the most of these SHG's, which she claims as her 'brainchild', Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and DMK Chief Karunanidhi strongly dispute her in this regard.

Chidambaram said SHGs were the idea of the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and that the concept was floated in Tamil Nadu in 1989, much before Jayalalithaa came to power.

Karunanidhi, who last October called for the non-politicisation of the SHGs went back on his statement a few days back when he refferred to the groups during his campaigning for the May 8 assembly polls.