Munirka reserved constituency: In all-women constituency, candidates ‘nowhere in sight’, male kin woo voters

While the women candidates were nowhere to be seen — although party volunteers insisted they were taking rounds of their constituency — their male relatives were more conspicuous.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: May 18, 2016 11:16 am
delhi, delhi mcd bypoll, delhi munirka bypolls, munirka woman reserved seat, delhi ndmc bypoll, delhi sdmc bypoll, delhi north mcd bypoll, delhi mcd bypoll aap, delhi mcd bypoll congress, delhi mcd bypoll bjp, delhi news, ncr news, latest news Some of the women who turned up to vote had no clue why they were doing so. They had just one reason — their husbands and families had told them to vote.

It was a constituency reserved for women and saw many women voters too, but the MCD bypolls in Munirka seemed to be about everything but women. In the narrow lanes of Munirka village, it was mostly men who could be seen sitting outside with their party posters and pamphlets, handing chits to voters and urging them to vote for their candidates. Most voters weren’t even aware that it was a reserved constituency for women.

While the women candidates were nowhere to be seen — although party volunteers insisted they were taking rounds of their constituency — their male relatives were more conspicuous.

Congress candidate Yogita Rathi’s uncle, Rajesh Rathi, could be seen walking around with a phone in his hand. He said, “Many people turned up to vote in the morning. The heat kept people away in the latter half of the day. We live near Rama Market on the main Munirka road,” he said, excusing himself to attend a phone call.

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The son of BJP candidate Sudesh Tokas could also be seen whizzing around on a motorbike, asking people if they had voted, but his mother was nowhere to be seen. “It’s true that most women stand in place of their husbands who have been councillor before. They do this because they want the seat to remain in the family. But our candidate is different; she’s educated and has done an MCA,” said Zafar, a Congress activist.

Congress volunteers seemed to be more in number compared to the BJP or AAP, but all parties had an equal presence when it came to photos and pamphlets.

Meanwhile, some of the women who turned up to vote had no clue why they were doing so. They had just one reason — their husbands and families had told them to vote.

“There is no reason why I voted. My husband had told me that a particular candidate was good so I voted for them,” said Meera.

Another voter, Shyamwati, said, “Kisi ko karna tha isliye kar diya.. Ye mann ki baat hai. (I had to vote for someone so I did…)”

However, others were more aware of the candidates and parties. “We voted on the basis of who we thought would be able to provide some development in the area. We have been living here for years so we know who is working and who isn’t,” said Nutan Pandey.

Besides the three parties and their stalls, another candidate in the fray in Munirka was Geeta. A former AAP activist, she decided to contest independently after the party allegedly wanted to field her as she was close to AAP MLA Pramila Tokas.

Meanwhile, in Nawada, AAP’s presence was felt more in the form of an opinion poll stuck on the walls, declaring it would win the seat by getting 62 per cent of votes. Even more confident was the BJP. The party’s posters said it would win the constituency by getting 67 per cent of the votes.

In Matiala, BJP workers dressed in saffron and AAP workers could be seen urging the crowd to vote. With Matiala being a sensitive ward, there was increased police presence in the area. “Not many people have turned out to vote for some reason. In the morning, many people came to vote but the crowd thinned considerably by noon,” said an officer.

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