HYDERABAD: Will the winds of change blow in favour of women in Telangana politics? As the Election Commission of India begins accepting nominations for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, it is perhaps prudent to examine women participation in politics in the State. And, data suggests that it has only decreased in the State with time, instead of going up.
A look at the data shows that from the 23 nominations filed in 2009, the number of nominations, instead of going up, fell further to only 18 candidates in the 2014 elections. The trends for the year 2019 don’t look any more favourable as the Congress list containing 16 names has no woman. TRS and BJP’s upcoming lists are also rumoured to have just 1-2 women.
But a closer look at statistics from 2014 show that these parties fielded no women in 2014 as well. In the last elections, only incumbent MP Kavitha Kalvakuntla was fielded by TRS from Nizamabad. BJP had fielded eight candidates, while Congress candidates contested the elections all over the State; none of them were women.
In 2009 as well, it was only TRS and Congress that had fielded a woman. TRS fielded Vijaya Shanthi from Medak constituency, who won the seat, while Congress fielded Renuka Chaudhary from Khammam, who was the runner-up there.
A majority of the women candidates in both 2009 and 2014 elections came from parties with much lesser influence in Telangana politics. In 2014, of the 12 women who got to contest, as many as four were Independent candidates. This, perhaps, hints at the fact that major parties do not yet trust women leaders. This was reflective on Tuesday as well, when a former party member of Congress nominated herself for the elections as an Independent candidate.
Unconvinced that things will ever change, woman’s groups are now fighting for the Women’s Reservation Bill to be passed in Parliament.
“This issue is playing out because politics in India is driven by a certain power structure which favours men. It is not as if able women don’t exist in these constituencies, but just that the male candidates voice is amplified and campaigned well,” noted Varsha Bhargavi, organiser of #Iwillgoout campaign on Facebook.
Meanwhile, an interesting trend that was witnessed in 2014 was that seven out of 12 women candidates were from the SC and ST communities.
Tickets to women in 2014 elections:
Jantantra Party 1
Pyramid party 2
Socialist Party 1