Women in Politics: Odisha’s BJD says it will grant a third of Lok Sabha tickets to women
- Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced a 33% reservation quota for women for BJD Lok Sabha seats.
- The opposition has termed it a ‘pre-poll game plan’ to enhance female voters.
- The last Lok Sabha elections recorded 61 women leaders in the country.
That means out of total of 21 tickets, seven will be reserved for women.
While addressing a function in Kendrapada, Patnaik reportedly said that the government will send 33% women to Parliament in the upcoming elections, calling it a benchmark for ‘women empowerment’ in the country. If India has to compete globally, with countries including America and China, women empowerment is a must, he added.
The move was, however, labeled as a ‘pre-poll game plan’ by the opposition parties, to increase the number of women voters. The party also faced criticism for introducing reservation quota just ahead of election schedule announcement.
Presently, the state has three women Lok Sabha MPs. Its state assemblies have 12 women MLAs. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJD secured 20 of 21 seats.
Taking a step towards women empowerment, Patnaik, in December, had also seeked to pass Women’s Reservation Bill, which was pending in Lok Sabha. Women participation has been increasing in politics, though far from the 33% quota, previous Lok Sabha elections recorded 61 women leaders.
The proportion of ministerial posts held by women in India is low. Presently, India has 64 women leaders in 545 Member of Parliament, according to the World Economic Forum.
Separately, bridging the gender gap in the country, a National Women’s Party was also launched in December last year aimed at ensuring 50% participation from women in the Parliament. The party will also reportedly contest in Lok Sabha elections next month.
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