Mr.Chandran , father of Lakshmi , a 24-year old girl is restless and his eyes are set on the large black gates of his house . It is 8 p.m and his daughter has not yet returned back home. Lakshmi was out since morning as she is need for a job and busy with her interviews in various firms she has applied. She is looking for a job for the past 2 weeks, but in vain. Had she not returned home within the next five minutes, he would have started from home in search of her ………………
It is not only Mr.Chandran facing this situation but fathers of many other daughters too .The reason being India is no more a safe country for young girls to be out alone after evening or late into the night. Unfortunately, our social and political system, our government and their laws have failed to provide security to the women of this country. Something which is the need of the hour. And this issue, being the priority of all the women candidates contesting in the Lok Sabha, we will have to hope for the best.
This year, India will witness one of the biggest and the most important General Lok Sabha Elections, 2014. It is for the first time that 54 women are contesting for the Lok Sabha seats from the Congress, the highest among all political parties. There are women candidates from BJP, JD(S) and other parties as well. All are clear and certain of one thing – Only a woman can understand another woman’s woes and provide the best feasible solutions as well. They are ready for the big challenge of bringing about a change in the male-dominated politics pool of India.
The Women Reservation Bill which provides for about 33% of reservation of seats for women in Parliament and State Assemblies is still pending before the Parliament and the scene remains the same, even after 14 years. Considering the total women population of our country, it should be a 50:50 ratio in the reservation. The curve representing the number of women candidates elected to the Lok Sabha during the years will show minimum increase in percentage from 3.4% in 1977 to 8.1% in 1984 and another major leap from 9.02% in 1999 to 10.82% in 2009.
However, the country is expecting a better response this time with a large number of women candidates, firm and stubborn. The few names a lay man could list when asked about prominent women leaders in Indian Politics are Sonia Gandhi, Jaya Lalitha, Mamata Bannerjee or maybe Sushma Swaraj and Meira Kumar, the first woman speaker of Lok Sabha. It is time that this number increases. And Karnataka is all set on rolling wheels with women controlling the movement. To start with, Shobha Karandlaje, BJP candidate from Udupi/Chikmangalur states that the ideal representation of women in the Parliament should be 50% and things will change when the Bill will be passed. Realizing the fact that how difficult it is for a female politician to prove herself , she wants education to be highlighted and imparted to all as education can give women a voice and financial security.
Laxmi Hebbalkar, Congress candidate from Belgaum, slightly differs in her views and not against the male parliamentarians. She is the first woman to contest the Lok Sabha polls from this constituency. She is delighted to see men approach and encourage her during her campaigns and rallies. While many child, social and political activists like Nina Nayak for Aam Aadmi Party and Ruth Manorama from JD(S) who have been fighting for rights of women lay stress on child welfare. Women and child welfare go together, hand in hand. As an MP , Niya Nayak would want to create more jobs and opportunities in terms of employment and provide women with financial security . Gita Shivrajkumar is inclined towards improving the living conditions of rural and poor women , many of whom don’t have access to clean water or toilets.
Likewise every women candidate promises to address issues of sexual abuse , rape , dowry , education , exploitation , social evils like child marriage , various crimes rising against women , etc . They would put their best foot forward to implement schemes and social initiatives that have failed in the past . Implementation and enforcement will be strict as this is the sole reason why schemes have failed earlier.
The dream of parliament with maximum number of women still remains unfulfilled. Going back , it is noticed that only elite women have represented in Indian politics . The issue of caste and women from poorer backgrounds is one of the major reasons which needs utmost attention . Only then the voice of the dalit women would be staged and solutions found . Also the ideology of a woman being “ inside the house “ has to be changed and more women to be encouraged to come forward and take part in politics at the gross-root levels. We talk about a democratic and free country. Is the freedom of women abuse and exploitation going to continue or is it that we will see the game changing ?