LS polls: Of 52 Punjab candidates, mainstream parties field only six women - Hindustan Times
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LS polls: Of 52 Punjab candidates, mainstream parties field only six women

By, Chandigarh
May 21, 2024 07:48 AM IST

The proportion of women candidates in Punjab is way short of the 33% reservation in Lok Sabha and state assemblies laid down for them by the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, or the Constitution (128th Amendment), Bill.

Women make up less than 12% of the candidates announced by the mainstream political parties for the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab.

In the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections, women constituted 15%, and 13% of the total 39 candidates fielded by the Congress, AAP and the SAD-BJP combine in the state.
In the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections, women constituted 15%, and 13% of the total 39 candidates fielded by the Congress, AAP and the SAD-BJP combine in the state.

Of the 52 candidates named by the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the four main players in the Punjab poll sweepstakes, for the June 1 parliamentary elections, only six are women.

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While the AAP, which currently governs the state, has an all-male line-up of 13 nominees, the BJP has fielded three women candidates. The Congress has fielded two and SAD just one.

The proportion of women candidates in Punjab is way short of the 33% reservation in Lok Sabha and state assemblies laid down for them by the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, or the Constitution (128th Amendment), Bill.

This bill, passed by Parliament last year with near-unanimous support, will come into effect after the next census. The women’s reservation bill, piloted by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, received backing from all major political parties, including the Congress, AAP and the SAD. Though these parties wanted the 33% women quota to be implemented immediately, they have not followed up what they preached with action.

In the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections, women constituted 15%, and 13% of the total 39 candidates fielded by the Congress, AAP and the SAD-BJP combine in the state.

A Congress leader, who did not want to be identified, said political parties are responsible for the present situation where the number of women MPs and MLAs is abysmally low.

“There is intense competition without doubt, but winnability factor and surveys are used sometimes to deny tickets to deserving aspirants who are not from political families,” she said, expressing hope that the 33% women quota would help change things.

The BJP, which is contesting all 13 seats in Punjab as compared to three for the first time since 1996 after ally SAD snapped ties, has fielded a four-time Lok Sabha MP Preneet Kaur and two first-timers, Anita Som Prakash and Parampal Kaur. All three come from political families.

While sitting MP Preneet Kaur, the wife of former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, has been fielded by the BJP from Patiala after she crossed over from the Congress, Anita Som Prakash has replaced her husband, Som Prakash, who is a Union minister and incumbent MP, in Hoshiarpur.

Parampal, a former IAS officer, is the daughter-in-law of senior SAD leader and former minister Sikander Singh Maluka. She is in the fray from Bathinda, where her fight is with former Union minister and three-time MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Harsimrat, the daughter-in-law of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and wife of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal has won the Bathinda parliamentary seat thrice in a row and is a strong contender this time as well. She is the lone woman candidate of the SAD.

The Congress has fielded Yamini Gomar from Hoshiarpur and Amarjit Kaur Sahoke from Faridkot. Gomar, then a member of the AAP national executive, had contested the Hoshiarpur parliamentary seat from the AAP in 2014 and trailed in the third position with 22% votes. She joined the Congress in 2016 following differences with the AAP leadership. Sahoke, a former chairperson of zila parishad, was the SAD candidate from Jagraon in the 2017 assembly elections but lost. She switched to the Congress in 2022. The AAP, which fielded two candidates each in 2014 and 2019, has not fielded any woman candidates this time. Chief minister Bhagwant Mann, in an interview with HT recently, said this does not mean there is no women empowerment. “The party has 11 women legislators, and two of them are ministers. We will field more in the next election,” he added.

Head: No of women fielded in LS polls

2024

Total candidates: 328

Women: 26

BJP: 3

Congress: 2

SAD: 1

AAP: 0

====================

2019

Total candidates: 278

Women: 25

Congress: 1

SAD: 2

AAP: 2

Elected: 2 (One each of Cong and SAD)

=========================

2014

Total candidates: 233

Women: 20

Congress: 2

SAD: 2

AAP: 2

Elected: 1 (SAD)

==========================

2009

Total candidates: 218

Women: 13

Congress: 2

SAD: 2

Elected: 4 (2 each of Cong and SAD)

==========================

2004

Total candidates: 142

Women: 10

Congress: 4

SAD: 1

Elected: 2 (1 each of Cong and SAD)

================================

1999

Total candidates: 120

Women: 10

Congress: 3

SAD: 2

Elected: 2 (Congress)

=========================

1998

Total candidates: 102

Women: 9

Congress: 1

SAD: 1

Elected: 1 (SAD)

===============================

1996

Total candidates: 259

Women: 17

Congress: 3

SAD: 1

Elected: 1 (Congress)

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