Naveen Patnaik, Mamata Banerjee Reserve Tickets For Women. Will BJP And Congress Follow?
Even as no real effort was made to pass the women's reservation bill in Parliament in the last five years, two regional satraps said they will field women candidates in at least a third of the Lok Sabha seats they contest in the general election.
While Biju Janata Dal chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that 33 percent of the seats will be reserved for women, his Trinamool Congress and West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee said she would give 42 percent tickets to women.
The two national parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, have so far made no such promise. Congress President Rahul Gandhi, however, promised to pass the women’s reservation bill if voted to power.
“There’s a lot of lip service with no real intention to follow through,” Nisha Agrawal, women’s rights activist and former chief executive officer of Oxfam India. The two main national parties made no real effort to pass the bill despite supporting the move publicly.
Things will not change till there is a critical mass. Nothing’s stopping the BJP and the Congress from following in the footsteps of the regional parties.Nisha Agrawal, Former CEO, Oxfam India
Advocate Flavia Agnes agrees. A significant number of women representatives in the Lok Sabha would make a big difference to the functioning of the house and quality of debate, she said.
With more women, we will have cleaner politics and a more civilised way of disagreeing with each other in ParliamentFlavia Agnes, Advocate
After the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, women comprised 11 percent of the parliamentarians. While there are a number of prominent women lawmakers, a chunk of them hail from political families that makes their entry into politics easier.
Watch the full debate here: