Women in politics must for democracy: The expansion of the Telangana state Cabinet has been a major disappointment for women legislators.
While inducting six new ministers in the Cabinet, the Telangana Chief Minister did not find it fit to have even one woman on his team.
This underlines the fact that the Chief Minister does not care about women’s participation. It also shows that the Telangana government has little regard for gender equality and sensitivity.
In contrast, the Andhra Pradesh government has three women in the Cabinet. Paritala Sunitha, K. Mrunalini and Peethala Sujatha hold important portfolios like food and civil supplies, rural development, housing, sanitation and women empowerment and child welfare. We have entrusted the implementation of important government agenda to our women.
It is imperative to observe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet too has a fair representation of women.
They include Sushma Swaraj, Maneka Gandhi, Najma Heptulla, Uma Bharati, Smriti Irani, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and MoS with independent charge, Nirmala Sitharaman.
Take Ms Sitharaman for instance. The former BJP national spokesperson is perhaps one of the most qualified ministers. She was also a member of the National Women’s Commission from 2003 to 2005.
She was neither a member of the Lok Sabha nor the Rajya Sabha. Yet she was chosen for her talent. She was later nominated for the Upper House from Andhra Pradesh.
Similarly, Maneka Gandhi, who is best known for supporting animal rights, has served as minister of state in a range of ministries including social justice and empowerment, culture, programme implementation and statistics and environment.
It is unfortunate that the TRS government still does not realise that women’s representation and participation in the political process is essential. Several studies have proved that women’s empowerment and their representation in politics is essential in building and sustaining democracy.
In Madhya Pradesh, the number of elected women in panchayats is more than the number of reserved seats. Such participation of women in the political process has led to a tremendous improvement in MP’s social indicators.
In Andhra Pradesh, we have spearheaded initiatives in bringing down poverty levels through the dynamic participation of women in Self-Help Groups. SHGs are our biggest strength, which can make inclusive growth possible.
We have entrusted sand mining to women of SHGs to ensure economic empowerment of women as part of our government’s Pedarikam Pai Gelupu (victory over poverty) drive and make sand available at a reasonable price to customers.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is committed to debt redemption for SHG women. Our government has also included SHG women in skill upgradation.
Hence, it is crucial to have women and ensure they have fair access to political spheres. This not only sets an example in society but also makes gender equality measures central to public policy-making.
Vangalapudi Anitha- Telugu desam mla from Payakaraopeta, VISAKHAPATNAM DISTRICT
Cabinet posts can’t be linked to justice: Opposition parties are unnecessarily raising a hue and cry over the Telangana Cabinet expansion, under the pretext of denial of Cabinet berths to women legislators.
Though there is no criticism from the public on this issue, the Opposition parties are trying to target Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
Their meaningless allegations and statements against Mr Rao prove that they are not really concerned about women, but are only interested in using the issue as an excuse to attack the Chief Minister.
It is ridiculous to argue that justice will be done to women only if women legislators are made Cabinet ministers. Can they explain what benefits women had received when several women ministers were part of the Cabinet in undivided Andhra Pradesh government?
It is foolish to think that just because there are no women ministers in the Cabinet, injustice will be meted out to women. One should understand that Mr Rao expanded his Cabinet with a broad-minded approach and with the aim to ensure social justice for all the sections.
What wrong has he done by not including women in the Cabinet? From the TRS, six women got elected as MLAs. Of them, Padma Devender Reddy was made the Deputy Speaker of Legislative Assembly, which is a Cabinet rank. I was given the position of the Government Whip, and Kova Lakshmi is being made a Parliament secretary, which too is a Cabinet minister rank.
This means, 50 per cent of women MLAs from Telangana Rashtra Samiti were given Cabinet minister ranks.
This shows that the Chief Minister has the highest regard for women. Does the Opposition think that just giving women spots in the Cabinet amounts to doing justice to women?
Some Opposition parties are raising the issue of Konda Surekha the senior legislator from Warangal not getting a Cabinet post.
It should be noted that 55 per cent of population in Warangal comprises scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
To do justice to these communities, Dr T. Rajaiah was made Deputy Chief Minister from Scheduled Caste community and A. Chandulal was made tribal welfare minister from the Scheduled Tribe community. The Speaker for Assembly too is from a backward community of the district.
The composition of the Cabinet involves various equations like politics, caste, seniority, efficiency etc.
Due to these compulsions, it may not be possible for the Chief Minister to accommodate some persons or sections on some occasions. This should not be blown out of proportion.
Moreover, one should realise that only six months have passed since this government came to power, and Cabinets can be reshuffled in the remaining four-and-a-half years also.
Justice can then be done to others who could not be accommodated this time.
Before pointing a finger at the Chief Minister, one should try to be broad minded and not get carried away by unnecessary mud slinging.
Gongidi Sunitha Reddy- TRS MLA from Alair constituency and Government Whip