From Indira Gandhi to Mamata Banerjee, India has seen strong women politicians over the years. Meanwhile, the state of Maharashtra never saw any women politician take centre stage and lead from the front. However, this seems to change in the coming years.
Currently each of the leading parties in the state including the Shiv Sena, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have powerful women faces in the respective parties. Here are the top 5 women politicians that change the lead of the state and inturns the country:
1. Supriya Sule:
Daugther of Sharad Pawar- one of the most senior politicians in the country, Supriya Sule, is a three-time Member of Parliament (MP) from Baramati constituency. The NCP leader has raised various issues in the parliament which includes data privacy, triple talaq, renewable energy, the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, public health and many others. From May 2019 to December 2019, Sule participated in 75 debates and asked 167 questions, and her 97 per cent attendance made her the best performer in Lok Sabha. Many Maharashtrians believe that their tai will be the first women chief minister of the state.
2. Pankaja Munde:
A firebrand orator, Pankaja Munde is the daughter of late Gopinath Munde who was the deputy CM of the state. She was elected to the Legislative Assembly from Parli constituency in 2009 and later in 2014 became the Minister of Rural, Women and Child Development in Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' cabinet. However, Munde failed to continue her winning streak in 2019 as she was defeated by her cousin and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde. Nevertheless, in January, the fiery BJP leader undertook a day-long fast to highlight the issue of water crisis in the Marathwada region.
3. Neelam Gorhe:
One of the most articulate voices in the state, Neelam Gorhe was unanimously elected the Deputy Chairman of Maharashtra Legislative Council in 2019, becoming the first woman elected to the prestigious post since formation of Maharashtra in 1960. A doctor by profession, Gorhe joined politics in 1987 and since then the Shiv Sena leader has been tirelessly working in raising women's issues. Her contribution in helping the victims of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, 1993 Latur earthquake and the 2000 Gujarat earthquake is tremendous.
4. Navneet Kaur Rana:
Actor turned politician, Navneet Kaur Rana first fought the Lok Sabha election in 2014 as a candidate of Nationalist Congress Party. However, she didn't emerge victorious. Rana was second-time lucky as she proved to be a giant killer, defeating senior Shiv Sena leader Anandrao Adsul from the Amravati constituency in 2019. She fought independently and was backed by Congress and NCP. Rana's speeches are a rage in the state and goes viral all over social media each time. The 34-year-old has said that she is committed to get a full-fledged airport and proper train connectivity in her constituency.
5. Praniti Shinde:
A three-time member of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Praniti Shinde is the daughter of former Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. A stauch crtic of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, Shinde termed the current situation of the country "extremely disturbing" and said that BJP was hand-in-glove in every single attack on universities, women, colleges and students. The Solpaur MLA has also opposed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).