No woman MLA in Pondicherry Assembly for 15 years

Women's Movement demands 33% quota for women in polls.

Puducherry: With Puducherry set to go to polls next month, women voters point out that political parties should accommodate more women nominees.

Disappointed with the poor representation of women in the territorial assembly, voters assert that “Giving 33 per cent reservation for women is not a favour done to them, instead it is their right.” The women’s outburst is evident from the fact there had been no woman legislator for the past 15 years. Demanding a change in the scenario, women voters have urged political parties to ensure there are more women candidates this time. There had been only seven women MLAs in Puducherry since 1963.

“The number of woman voters in Puducherry is higher than that of men. But when it comes to representation of women in the Assembly, it is zero which is very much disappointing. No political party is different from the other in this regard,” regrets Archana, an engineering graduate.

Sharing the same concern, A. Geetha, (48), a housewife, says “ “I don’t even remember voting for a woman candidate. A woman legislator can highlight women’s issues better than their male counterparts. Political parties should view this matter seriously, at least this time.” she said. Of the 9,27,128 electorate in the Union Territory, there are 486060 women voters. Men voters total 441531.

In the 2011 Assembly elections, major political parties, including Congress and NR Congress failed to ensure representation of women in elections. “I would say 50 per cent seats should be reserved for woman candidates,” says Anjali Ganga, vice-president, Pondicherry University Students Union.

“Political parties should ensure equal participation of women in their activities. Equal representation from all sections of society will only help strengthen democracy, “ says Lalidamballe, a social activist and head of Dr Ambedkar Women’s Rationalist Movement.

Expressing disgust over poor representation of women in the Puducherry Assembly in the past 15 years, she urged political parties to recognise the right of women to contest elections. The Movement has prepared a 21-point manifesto demanding 33 per cent reservation for women candidates in the coming Assembly elections.

The Mahila Congress and leaders of All India Democratic Women’s Association have demanded ticket for women to contest the Assembly

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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