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Women, all

At 25, Anjali Nimbalkar’s six years as a sailor with the Sea Cadet Corps are hardly behind her and the politician’s patented entre...

Written by Kavitha Iyer | New Delhi |
October 10, 2004

At 25, Anjali Nimbalkar’s six years as a sailor with the Sea Cadet Corps are hardly behind her and the politician’s patented entreaty is light years away from her chirpy style.

Still, in between running a graphic design firm and teaching computer skills, she squeezes in time to ‘‘campaign’’. She’s taking a bus every day from her Napean Sea Road home to her constituency in Malabar Hill, walking into plush homes. ‘‘I don’t ask them to vote for me,’’ she says. ‘‘I point out that it’s time for a change.’’

This is the Womanist Party of India: The first all-India political party of women with 10 members contesting across the state, four in Mumbai.

Fifty km north of Nimbalkar’s campaign trail, in Goregaon, Avisha Kulkarni (41) is playing with her mixed-bred Boxers. ‘‘Yes, I’d like to be minister, maybe home minister…but after five years,’’ says Kulkarni.

Like the other candidates her nascent party is fielding, she is not exactly looking to win, pitted against stalwarts like trade unionist Sharad Rao (NCP) and Sena man Subhash Desai.

‘‘I’ve formed a trust for the pond where Ganeshas are immersed, cleaned up the area, protected the mangroves just beyond my house…but of course, I’ve not done enough,’’ says the mother of five adopted children who once played interpreter for Rajiv Gandhi and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Madhura Gore (33), contesting from the Sena stronghold of Dadar, is a former Sainik. ‘‘Kuch lafda nahin (No problems at all),’’ she says, of her Sena past. ‘‘But they realised that I was capable of bigger things.’’ Gore sells puri bhaji outside Bombay Hospital, and is leader of the Maharashtra Mahila Hawkers’ Union.

Nita Ingle has passed Std IX and is married to a leather workers’ union leader. ‘‘Ever wondered how Dharavi women manage without proper toilets?’’ she asks.

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