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Empowering Women in Indian Political Carnival

Empowering Women in Indian Political Carnival

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Published by Vijay M. Deshpande
Women will be much more insecure of their place in the political space. That is empowering women to bring them up once after every ten years and down after five years. That would be the guaranteed fundamental right of women! And guaranteed deprivation for men! Did some one say social justice?
Women will be much more insecure of their place in the political space. That is empowering women to bring them up once after every ten years and down after five years. That would be the guaranteed fundamental right of women! And guaranteed deprivation for men! Did some one say social justice?

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Published by: Vijay M. Deshpande on Mar 12, 2010
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Empowering Women in Indian Political Carnival
It is said that behind every successful man is a woman. Yes, this time SoniaGandhi stood firmly behind Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh to pushthe bill for 33% reservation for women in Rajya Sabha. This is definitely along expected land mark bill with potential to change the face of politicalIndia in years to come. The passage of the bill exposed chinks in the armor of the UPA government which has to now fortify its position in Lok Sabhawhere the bill has to be passed. And with unpredictable Mamata Banerjee,Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh holding the potential veto card, the political strategists have the job cut out for them.One thing for sure is that now there is no going back on the bill as every political party is bound to be in a catch -22 situation. Damned they will be if they don’t support and doomed they will be if they do! Once Lok Sabhaclears the bill, the states have to follow the process before it is sent to thePresident for approval. Few adjournments of houses, some political bickering and some behind the scene give and take are all that stand betweenthe bill and the presidential signature.
Not a Musical Chair:
Assuming the bill to become Act, what are the repercussions of thisimportant legislation? The political parties have been trying hard to ceratespace for themselves as face savers. Quota within quota is the sticking point.Isn’t it enough to have just reservation of tickets for women to contestelection instead of a reserved constituency? The complication is introducedwith rotational system for five years for representation by women for aconstituency whose turn would come again after 15 years. So there is alwaysa hanging sword and the only thing certain is that after five years theconstituency will not have women representative for two consecutiveelections or ten years. The political future of women candidates would bealways linked to time frame and new constituencies and not performance. Itis the political parties who would decide their future and not necessarily the people. Even a musical chair would offer a fair chance to all.
Family Pack:
It is probable that the seats would revolve between husband and wife or father & daughter or brother and sister teams to represent a constituencyalternately. That will ensure that the hard work done in the constituencywould be protected. Mostly one can expect management by proxy to beat thesystem.
So brace up for Lalu & Rabri combine to steer theirconstituency. I wonder if Amethi will be ruled by Sonia and Rahul orPriyanka and Rahul if the need be. May be we would say, “Behindevery successful woman there is a man!”
Reserving a constituency for women would take away the rights of men tocontest elections from these constituencies for that term of five years. Whereis the need to have such a complex system? Most of the countries whichhave reservation for women have done so through the political parties. Thatwould have been easier to implement without trampling on the constitutionalrights of millions of men and women also.
Fundamental Rights:
The fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution of India provide for equality for all before law without discrimination by caste, religion, gender etc. By 108
amendment, a man wishing to contest election as independentcandidate, standing in front of the government officer for filing nomination papers, can be told that he is ineligible to file nomination as the constituencyis reserved for women only for that particular election and he could try after five years in next election!. This is in direct infringement of his right toequality in matters of opportunities. This will be justified by legal punditsunder directive principles of Indian constitution quoted below:-“ If laws are made to give effect to the Directive Principles of State Policy(DPSP) over Fundamental Rights, they shall not be invalid on the groundsthat they take away the Fundamental Rights. In case of a conflict betweenFundamental Rights and DPSP's, if the DPSP aims at promoting larger interest of the society, the courts shall have to uphold the case in favour of the DPSP.” This has been the case every time we had reservations on the basis of castes.
Political Subversion:
In the name of social justice, we have the case of political subversion of theconstituion. With this amendment, a woman candidate contesting from
general constituency may be told to go to reserved constituency with nolocal base and fail miserably. Rather, in practice, they are likely to be deniedtheir fundamental right of equality of opportunity to contest from any or general constituency also and therefore is restrictive in nature which isagainst the constitution. So when they are contesting elections, they arerepresenting the political bosses and not the people of their constituencywhere they are known. Similarly the men would have to vacate their constituencies for five years to let women contest the elections after everyten years. They too would lose their fundamental right to contest fromanywhere and represent their own people.
Insecured political space:
In last sixty years, women have had all the opportunities without restrictionsof any kind. They have all been there as prime minister, president, speaker,chief minister, police commissioner, chairperson, teacher, engineer, doctor, pilot and nothing could stop them. Only the political parties lacked the will power to handover tickets for contesting elections as a matter of first right of refusal. So in the current exercise Congress seems to be targeting vote bank of women for long term.This constitutional amendment would result in a social churning withwomen from the bottom of the pyramid moving to the top for a while beforecollapsing again and again! And thereafter running helter skelter to searchanother constituency if possible.
Women will be much more insecured of their place in the political space.
That is empowering women to bringthem up once after every ten years and down after five years. Thatwould be the guaranteed fundamental right of women! And guranteeddeprivation for men! Did some one say social justice?
Vijay M. DeshpandeCorporate Advisor,Strategic Management Initiative,PuneMarch 12, 2010
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