03 March, 2021

Fairweather Suitors

Both the BJP and Congress discover the might of the independent woman vote

T. Narayan
Fairweather Suitors
Do political parties find women more attractive as voters than as legislators? So it would seem were one to go by the gender-loaded agendas being drafted by both the BJP and the Congress. Contrast this with the Women's Reservation Bill (providing a 33 per cent quota for women in legislatures) which languishes for lack of political "consensus". But as polls near, both parties are focusing on women's concerns in their campaign strategies and going beyond hackneyed lip-service to mahila sashaktikaran (women's empowerment).

The "mahila factor" acquired a whole new meaning after the December 2003 assembly elections in which a massive turnout of women voters was believed to have influenced the poll results in favour of two women chief ministerial nominees. Rajasthan saw a dramatic 6 per cent increase in the turnout of women voters. More women than men voted in 31 constituencies, most of them located in tribal areas and pockets of high literacy, helping Vasundhararaje to the top job in the state. In Madhya Pradesh, the percentage of women voters increased by 10 per...

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