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Few women politicians find place in Bengal poll candidate list

mamata banerjee

Trinamool Congress and Left parties have failed to set an example when it comes to nominating women candidates for the Lok Sabha election in West Bengal

mamta banerjeeKolkata: Though most vocal among political parties on the passage of the Women’s Reservations Bill, arch rivals Trinamool Congress and Left parties have failed to set an example when it comes to nominating women candidates for the Lok Sabha election in West Bengal.

While the candidate list for the 42 Lok Sabha seats announced by the Trinamool Congress has 11 women, the Left Front list has only six.

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, the discrepancy between promises of empowering women and efforts to keep them becomes prominent, particularly because the TMC is headed by a woman – Mamata Banerjee and the CPI-M has a prominent woman leader – Brinda Karat.

Although the TMC has nominated more women candidates than the Left Front, it has nonetheless failed to give one-third of the seats to women.

Asked to account for this, TMC general secretary Mukul Roy said, “It is a continuous process and nomination of more women will happen slowly. In the panchayat election, we had given 50 per cent nomination to women candidates. In the Lok Sabha, we have given tickets to 11 women candidates.”

In the 42-member Bengal ministry too, there are only three women ministers.

The CPI(M) leadership, on the other hand, accepted that there should have been more women candidates in the party’s list of candidates, but sought to put the blame on the district grassroot level leadership whose mindset, he acknowledged, had not undergone much change and acted as a roadblock.

“We may have failed to convince the district and grassroot level leadership on nominating more women candidates,” former minister and CPI(M) central committee member Rekha Goswami said.

Goswami, a prominent woman face of Left politics in Bengal, noted that the political parties were nothing but a reflection of the society they represent and the Indian society was still male-dominated.

Left Front chairman and CPI (M) state secretary Biman Bose said that from next time onwards, the party would nominate more women candidates.

The Women’s Reservation Bill which was passed in Rajya Sabha in 2010 but not in the Lok Sabha, proposes to reserve 33 per cent seats in Lok Sabha, state legislatures and local bodies.

Congress, which is yet to come out with its candidate list, said both the Trinamool and the CPI(M) never preach what they say.

“We have seen on other issues too that Trinamool and CPI(M) do diagonally opposite things than what they actually claim,” Congress MP Mausam Benazir Noor said.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the Congress had

State Women’s Commission chairperson Sunanda Mukherjee said, “The male-dominated Left parties talk a lot about women empowerment, but when it comes to empowering women in their own parties, they lack the will to do it.”


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