With female candidates putting up a poor show in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections in Jharkhand,all major political parties have been extremely economical in giving tickets to women for the upcoming polls.
In 2004,13 women candidates,including the BJPs Abha Mahato in Jamshedpur and Rita Verma in Dhanbad,Jharkhand Mukti Morchas (JMM) Champa Verma in Koderma and Lok Janshakti Partys (LJP) Kiran Raj in Giridih had lost in the Lok Sabha elections. Six Independent women candidates even lost their security deposits.
This time,the JMMs sitting MP from Jamshedpur,Suman Mahato,is the only woman to have been given a ticket by the party. Mahato had won the seat on a sympathy wave in the by-election held after her husband Sunil Mahato who was elected as an MP on the JMM ticket in 2004 was gunned down by Naxalites in 2006.
However,the Congresss sitting MP from Khunti,Sushila Kerketta,who had defeated senior BJP leader Karia Munda in the last elections,was not renominated. Instead,the ticket went to Neil Tirkey,who is an MLA from neighbouring Simdega constituency.
Much like the Congress,the BJP,RJD and Left parties (which,incidentally,advocate 33 per cent quota for women) have not fielded a single woman candidate for any of the states 14 Lok Sabha seats. All say that this is because female party members lack winnability.
We scanned the CVs of our woman members,but none of them was considered a strong candidate, said Congress spokesperson Shailesh Singh,echoing the sentiments of his counterparts in the BJP,RJD and Left parties.