The 15th Lok Sabha may be shorn off a feminine touch.
Going by the number of tickets issued to women candidates by various political parties, female representation in Parliament may be much lesser in the Lower House this time. This is despite a high number of women jumping into the election fray.
Though led by a vibrant woman, the Congress Party has only about 9 women, including party chief Sonia Gandhi in its list of 90-odd candidates released so far.
The Bhartiya Janata Party, which epitomises its women as "devis" (goddesses), has fielded only 21 women candidates of its total list of 232 candidates.
The case with the Left Front, which has been vociferous in accusing both BJP and Congress of lacking political will on the Womené³ Reservation Bill, is much worse. Even in West Bengal, its bastion, the Reds have fielded women only in two seats out of the total 42 seats they are contesting in the state. This is less than the five women fielded for the 2004 elections in West Bengal.
Text: K Sreedevi
Image: Congress president Sonia Gandhi salutes Seva Dal members during the party`s election campaign at Davanagere in Karnataka on March 23. (Photograph copyright PTI. Unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.)
Special: Lok Sabha elections