BJD Will Reserve 33% Tickets For Women In Lok Sabha: Odisha CM
Bringing cheers to female aspirants in politics, Odisha Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik announced that 33% of its Lok Sabha tickets will be given to women.
With this announcement, BJD became the first political party to implement the long-pending proposal.
33% of party’s Lok Sabha tickets for women
The announcement came just hours before the Lok Sabha schedule was declared. Attending a women’s rally in Kendrapara district Naveen Patnaik said, “From this historic soil in Kendrapara I announce that from Odisha, 33 per cent women will go to Parliament….Odisha will show India the way in empowering women.”
Naveen Patnaik further added that in 1990, it was his father and two times CM of Odisha Biju Patnaik who introduced 33% reservation for women in the three-tier Panchayati Raj institutions, which was subsequently increased to 50% in 2012 by the BJD government. Further, in November 2018, a resolution was passed in the state assembly which sought 33% reservation for women in the state legislative assemblies and parliament.
Reacting to the news, Tara Krishnaswamy of the Bengaluru-based organisation- Shakti which works for greater gender equality in politics told The Logical Indian, “This is a fantastic decision. It also puts tremendous pressure on other parties to follow suit. Giving 33% of the party’s tickets to women would mean that women of Odisha will now see greater representation.”
In 2014, BJD had won 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats. Patnaik’s decision would mean that BJD will field women candidates for at least seven of the 21 Lok Sabha seats. However, no similar announcement for the assembly polls which will be held along with the Lok Sabha polls has been made.
Women’s Reservation Bill pending in Lok Sabha
The BJD may have taken the lead in women’s representation in Lok Sabha, the Women’s Reservation Bill is still pending.
Introduced by the UPA government in 2008, the bill seeks to reserve one-third of all seats in Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies for women. Further, one-third of these seats would be reserved for women from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. While the bill was passed in Rajya Sabha in March 2010, the Lok Sabha is yet to vote on it.
Even though the Women’s Reservation Bill was promised by BJP in its manifesto, any concrete decision is yet to be taken.