Governance

BJD says 33% of its Lok Sabha candidates will be women

A third of the candidates from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will be women, party chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on March 10, 2019.

 
By Ashis Senapati
Last Updated: Monday 11 March 2019
Photo: Ashis Senapati

A third of the candidates from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will be women, party chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on March 10, 2019.

Reservation of a third of the seats at legislative bodies for women has been a long-standing issue. Many parties have advocated their support for the cause at different times, but nothing concrete has evolved.

Female voters, meanwhile, have played an increasingly important role in various elections across the country. In some recent elections their participation has surpassed that of male voters.

The Election Commission of India on March 10 announced that Lok Sabha polls would be held in seven phases between April 11 and May 19. The results would be announced  May 23.

Odisha elects 21 members to the Lok Sabha, which means the BJD will likely field about seven women candidates in the parliamentary elections.

The BJD’s decision will have a far-reaching impact on women’s empowerment, Patnaik said at an event in Kendrapara.  “If India is to be an advanced nation like Amecrica and China , then women empowerment is the only answer.  I call upon all the national parties that they should be true to their words and must follow what they are propagating for women empowerment,” he added.

Odisha booked a third of seats for women across the three-tier Panchayat Raj institutions (PRI) and government jobs in 1990.  In 2012, it increased PRI reservation to 50 per cent. Last year its legislature resolved to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in both Parliament and Assembly.

“I had also sent a proposal to all national parties and chief ministers in this regard,” Patnaik said.

The Women's Reservation Bill or The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008, which lapsed in Parliament, had proposed to reserve 33 per cent of all seats in the lower house of Parliament and in state legislative assemblies. The seats were proposed to be reserved in rotation and would have been determined by draw of lots in a way that a seat would be reserved only once in three consecutive general elections.

The Rajya Sabha passed it on March 9, 2010. However, the Lok Sabha never voted on it.

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