|HOME | NEWS | ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS '98 | REPORT|
|November 21, 1998||
Few women candidates in Delhi fray
With two high-profile ladies leading the charge for the main contesting parties, women are in the limelight for the November 25 Delhi assembly polls even though neither the BJP nor the Congress has lived up to the 33 per cent reservation demand.
In perhaps the first state election in the country, the chief ministerial candidates of the major contenders for power are women. While Delhi Pradesh Congress president Sheila Dikshit is leading the party challenge, Chief Minister Sushma Swaraj is spearheading the BJP's defence of the citadel.
Neither party has however given anywhere near the 33 per cent of tickets demanded by women politicians and activists though they have pledged support for the bill reserving one-third of legislative seats for women.
The Congress, which has put up women in ten of the 70 assembly constituencies of Delhi, has done better than the BJP, which has fielded five. It is a marginal improvement from the 1993 assembly polls, when the Congress had fielded eight and the BJP four women nominees.
Women, however, did not fare so well in the last assembly polls, in which only three of the 56 women contestants -- two from the Congress and one from the BJP -- were returned to the assembly.
All three women MLAs -- Purnima Sethi of the BJP and Tajdar Babbar and Krishna Tirath of the Congress -- are in the fray again, this time from their respective constituencies, Kalkaji, Minto Road and Baljeet Nagar.
There are more than 30 other women contesting as independents or as nominees of smaller parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Left Front.
The other female candidates of the two major parties are Shashi Prabha Arya (Rajouri Garden), Jyotsana Aggarwal (Shahadara) and Sarvesh Sharma (Ghonda) of the BJP and Sarla Kaushik (Shalimar Bagh), Susheela Devi (Sultan Majra), Meira Bhardwaj (Mandawali), Anjali Rai (Paharganj), Darshna Ram Kumar (Ram Nagar), Kiran Walia (Hauz Khas) and Kiran Chaudhury (Delhi Cantonment) of the Congress.
While the BJP has not repeated the losing women candidates of last time, the Congress has given yet another chance to Kiran Chaudhury who lost in Delhi Cantonment and Anjali Rai who was defeated in Moti Nagar in 1993.
Sheila Dikshit is pitted against the BJP's sitting MLA Kirti Azad in the Gole Market constituency while Swaraj is being challenged by Congress nominee Kiran Walia, a university lecturer, in Hauz Khas.
Apart from Hauz Khas, in no other constituency are the women candidates of the BJP and the Congress pitted against one another. Among the other key contests would be those in Rajouri Garden, where sitting Congress MLA Ajay Makan is being challenged by the BJP's Shashiprabha Arya and Kalkaji, where civil supplies minister Purnima Sethi is pitted against Subhash Chopra of the Congress.
The active campaigning being done by the wives of some of the male candidates has been an interesting feature of the pre-poll scenario. Be it Kirti Azad or former minister Rajendra Gupta, their spouses are in the forefront, canvassing support for their men.
The issue of price rise, which is perhaps the closest to the hearts of women voters, are being addressed with particular penchant by the women candidates, who are digging out all kinds of metaphors from the hearth and the kitchen to strike the right chord.
SHOPPING HOME | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS
PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK