TIRUCHY: The 50 per cent reservation for women in local bodies has brought women to the forefront of active electoral politics in the grassroots level democracy. The last day for filing of nomination saw a large number of women making their way to the offices of the returning officers in Tiruchy.
In 2011-16, only 33 per cent of the posts was earmarked for women. This time it has been increased to 50 per cent. The increase was apparent at the panchayat union offices where candidates converged to file nomination papers on Monday. Several women candidates from youngsters to the elderly were seen sporting towels with borders of their party flags. Many of them were first-time contestants.
A woman named Ilanjiyam from Adhavathur village said “This time the village panchayat president post is allotted to a woman.
Hence, a large number of women has come here in vans and trucks in support of the candidate Dhanalakshmi. If the candidate were a man, these many women would not have come.”
Some of the processions had husbands of candidates in the forefront. They led the processions that had frenzied drummers, dancers, bursting of crackers, while candidates remained seated in their cars and got up only when entering the offices to file nominations. Even while interviewing some of the women candidates for the TNIE regarding their plans for development and poll promises, their husbands often intervened to answer.
A young woman candidate S Sivaranjani (25) file her papers and said “If I get elected, I would ensure all houses in my ward have rain water harvesting system. ”
For K Sarojini (48), who hails from Mekkudi village, this is her first election. As the union ward, under which her village falls, has now been reserved for Dalit woman, she has become the candidate for the first time, contesting on the DMK ticket.
“There is drinking water scarcity in my village and women suffer because of this. Also, I would arrange for street lights in regular intervals to ensure women safety.”