Political parties in Haryana may have sops for women but not many tickets.
Of the total 1,222 candidates this Assembly election,only 67 are women the second highest number to contest the state election ever. The highest was in 1996 when 93 women candidates were in the fray.
While Congress has fielded 11 women,Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) nine,Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) and BJP have only six women each in the fray.
Not that the women of the state havent made their mark in politics. Prassani Devi,a former minister has already spent 47 years in politics,having won six Assembly polls out of the nine she has contested so far. She is in the fray for the 10th time from Panipat (Rural).
Kiran Choudhry,the tourism minister in the state and a contestant from Toshan this time,holds the record of winning a bypoll by the highest margin. Her daughter Shruti Choudhry trounced INLD veteran Ajay Singh Chautala from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh Lok Sabha constituency. Savitri Jindal is Congress candidate from Hisar. Among its 11 women candidates,Congress has one fresh face that of Shakuntla Khatak,a Rohtak-based nurse-activist,who apparently got the ticket owing to her close relationship with the Hooda family.
Kailasho Saini,who deserted INLD at the time of last Lok Sabha polls,has been given ticket from Ladwa. Shakuntla Bhagwaria is in the fray apparently due to her rebellion as an Independent in the last Assembly election. She joined the party this month.
INLDs women candidates include Kanta Devi,Swatantar Bala Choudhry,Sheela Bhyana,Seema Devi,Shashi Bala Tewatia and Saroj Mor. BJPs list has Anju Chhoker,Renu Sharma,Kavita Jain,Meena Parmar,Santosh Yadav and Seema Trikha.
HJC has fielded Jasma Devi,wife of Bhajan Lal from Nalwa in Hisar. Its other candidates are Nirmal Choudhary,Raj Bala Dhanak,Kusum Sharma,Geeta Bumbhak and Nirmala Devi.
The women electorate,meanwhile,are faring better in the poll manifestos by virtue of their improving turnout. After the state was formed in 1966,only 54.3 per cent women had exercised their franchisee in the 1968 election. A decade hence,in 1977,the percentage rose to only 60.9 per cent. But remarkably in the late 90s Bansi Lals Haryana Vikas Party came to power on the promise of imposing liquor prohibition in the state. Women had voted for him in overwhelming numbers. The 2005 election saw 70 per cent women voter turnout the highest ever.
With the Hooda government coming up with many pro-women schemes in its successive budgets,other parties too have announced a slew of sops to woo the 5,965,911 women voters of the state.