By fielding only three women candidates from their side in by-elections in 28 assembly constituencies, BJP and Congress party have made it clear that their oft-repeated commitment to empowerment of women was nothing more than rhetoric.
The parties don’t seem to be serious about giving women adequate representation in the legislature is evident from the fact that Bill providing for 33 percent reservation to women in Parliament and state legislatures is hanging fire for decades now. All the parties have been claiming that they support it but the Bill has not become an Act so far.
At least, the mainstream political parties can demonstrate their commitment to women’s empowerment by fielding a higher number of women candidates in the elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies. But that is not happening. Like all elections, it is true of by-elections in the state.
The Congress has fielded just three women in by-elections. They are: Asha Dohre (Ashoknagar - SC seat), Parul Sahu (Surkhi) and Ram Siya Bharati (Bada-Malhara).
Similarly, BJP has given tickets to Imarti Devi (Dabra - SC seat), Sumitra Devi Kasdekar (Nepanagar - ST) and Raksha Santram Saronia (Bhander SC) as its candidates. That means women form just a little more than 10 per cent of candidates of both the parties.
The number of women elected to 230-member MP assembly elections in 2018 was just 21 - less than 10 percent of total strength of House. Of them, 11 were from BJP, nine from Congress and one from BSP. Three women MLAs were elected from constituencies reserved for SCs and seven for STs. The remaining 11 had emerged victorious from general seats.
Currently, the House has 18 women members, 6 from Congress, 11 from BJP and one from BSP. Three Congress MLAs - Imarti Devi (Dabra), Raksha Santram Saronia (Bhander) and Sumitra Devi Kasdekar (Nepanagar) - had resigned from the House following Jyotiraditya Scindia crossing over to BJP in March this year.