UPSC Prelims 2023 » Women in Karnataka fray: Cursory presence

UPSC Practice recommends Women in Karnataka fray: Cursory presence.

Though the BJP has been in power for nine years and has the brute majority in the Lok Sabha, the Bill is yet to see the light of day.

Of 224 seats, eight women MLAs (one nominated, now scrapped) in the 15th Karnataka Assembly. Of 2,613 candidates in the Karnataka election fray, 185 are women (219 in 2018). Of 389 candidates contesting from Bengaluru’s 28 constituencies, 38 are women. The numbers tell a story—that the political system remains patriarchal, the bias against women remains strong, and all the major parties are guilty of it. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded 12 women candidates (5.3%), Congress 11 (4.9%), Janata Dal-Secular 13 (6.2%) and Aam Aadmi Party 13 (6%). The remaining 136 candidates are independents or belong to little-known parties in a state where 49% of the voters are women. The choice of candidates, too, falls into the family/dynasty pattern. Most of those nominated are wives, daughters and sisters or have links with political families. Bengaluru has failed on this front, with Sowmya Reddy, daughter of Congress veteran and MLA R Ramalinga Reddy, being the sole woman MLA in IT City.

Women may be blazing trails and breaking glass ceilings in every sphere, but strangely, there are few career politicians. What ails our political system? Are women wary of the rough-and-tumble of politics, or are potential women leaders pushed to the sidelines? Or does every woman politician need a godfather? With politics in India becoming increasingly hardline and feeding off hatred and bigotry, most women may be ill-at-ease, though a few do toe the line.

While parties profess to recognise gender equality and give women their due, it is evident that it is mere lip service by the brotherhood of male politicians. This anomaly could have been set right had the Women’s Reservation Bill been enacted and implemented. The Bill, to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women, remains in limbo 27 years after the Deve Gowda government introduced it in 1996 and 13 years after the Rajya Sabha passed it. While the Bill requires a Constitutional amendment, it also requires considerable political will. There is a reluctance to groom new leaders and break the male domination of the system. Though the BJP has been in power for nine years and has the brute majority in the Lok Sabha, the Bill is yet to see the light of day. Until such time, India cannot claim to be truly democratic.

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Courtesy: The New Indian Express – Editorials

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