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Lok Sabha elections 2019: In Haryana, only four women elected MPs in 40 years

With just four elected Members of Parliament (MPs) in the last 40 years, women empowerment remains a distant dream in Haryana, which, for years, has remained infamous for its skewed sex ratio and high rates of crimes against women.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 14, 2019 02:51 IST
Neeraj Mohan
Neeraj Mohan
Hindustan Times, Karnal (Haryana)
A study of Haryana’s parliamentary records shows that of the 151 MPs elected from the state (including from when it was a part of Punjab), women were elected only seven times. (File Photo)

With just four elected Members of Parliament (MPs) in the last 40 years, women empowerment remains a distant dream in Haryana, which, for years, has remained infamous for its skewed sex ratio and high rates of crimes against women.

A study of Haryana’s parliamentary records shows that of the 151 MPs elected from the state (including from when it was a part of Punjab), women were elected only seven times.

The seats were held by four women — Kumari Selja, who was elected twice from Ambala and once from Sirsa on a reserved seat, Kailsho Saini, who won from Kurukshetra two times, Shruti Chaudhary who represented the Bhiwani-Mahendergarh seat once and Sudha Chaudhary from Mahendergarh.

The constituencies of Karnal, Rohtak, Hisar, Faridabad, Gurugram and Sonipat have not sent a woman to the Parliament even once since their inception.

Karnal, Rohtak and Hisar seats existed even during the first general election in 1951 as part of consolidated Punjab whereas Faridabad, Gurugram and Sonipat seats were created in 1977.

In 1999, the state sent two women MPs to the state — Sudha Yadav of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Mahendergarh and Kailasho Saini of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) from Kurukshetra. In 2014, it was a dismal show with not a single woman making it to the Parliament from the entire state.

While the main political parties of the state fielded three women, including INLD’s Kusum Sherwal from Ambala, Congress’ Shruti Choudhary from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh and Aam Aadmi Party’s Balwinder Kaur from Kurukshetra. Interestingly, the BJP did not field even a single woman candidate in the last general elections.

Age-old bias to be blamed

Professor Ranjana Aggarwal, director, women’s studies and research centre, Kurukshetra University, says that the reason why political parties are apprehensive about fielding women candidates is that they think women can’t perform well. “If two people are running a race and one started late, how will the person win. Similarly, women also got exposure to political, educational and social exposure much later than men. And now political parties are of the notion that women’s chances of winning are less.”

The drawback, she says, is that when women don’t get political representation, they needs are never taken up. “It has a negative impact on our society. Women end lagging behind not just politically but also socially and economically.”

The only way out, Prof Aggarwal, maintain is bringing in women’s reservation. She adds the time will soon come when women make it on their own merit and nobody can stop them.

First Published: Mar 14, 2019 02:51 IST