The candidate list of all political parties contesting the Bihar Assembly elections 2020 has leaders from different castes, classes and religions. However, the number of women candidates still remains the least on the list.
The ratio varies from one political party to another, revealing the prevalence of gender disparity, according to the analysts quoted by The Hindustan Times.
In Janata Dal (United) party, of the total 115 seats, 22 women are given tickets including Shagufta Azim (from Araria), Anjum Ara from Dumraon, Manju Verma.
Of the total 110 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has given 13 tickets to women including Shreyasi Singh from Jamui, Renu Devi from Bettiah, Rashmi Verma from Narkatiyaganj and so forth.
The Grand Alliance (Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Left parties--CPI, CPI(M) and CPI(ML)), has given tickets to 24 women candidates out of the 243 seats it is contesting. Of the total seats, RJD has fielded 16 women candidates of its 144 seats, the Congress has seven women on its candidates' list out of the 70 seats and the Left parties have one woman candidate out of the 19 seats.
The Lok Janshakti Party has given tickets to 18 women candidates out of the 143 seats it is contesting, including some former BJP leaders like Usha Vidyarthi fielding from Paliganj seat in Patna.
Senior social activist, Kanchanbala, told the media that even though the number of women candidates might be higher this time than the last, it doesn't make much of a difference.
"But look at the profile of candidates. The majority are either under-educated or are wives or widows of some musclemen and criminals," said Kanchanbala. Why can't educated and socially aware women be selected as contestants?" Kanchanbala asked.
"There are many such women who can make decisions and may make a difference in society and in politics as well. Unfortunately, most of the political parties prefer either illiterate women or the wives or widows of Bahubalis," she further said, adding that even the Left parties have failed to field an adequate number of women candidates.
Speaking to the media, former in-charge of Department of Women Studies, Promod Kumar Poddar said the number of women standing for the assembly elections shows the discrimination against them in politics that still exists. "Though all the political parties keep talking about equality, it's hardly practised in the distribution of tickets," he said.
Poddar said that India is in dire need of strong and educated women in politics if we need to bring change in the society.
The first phase of Bihar 2020 elections is on October 28, the second phase is scheduled for November 3 and the third phase will be held on 7. The results will be revealed on November 10.