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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Three parties, 9 tickets: Women struggle to find political space in Goa

Women constitute 49.32 per cent of the population in Goa.

Written by Zeeshan Shaikh | Panaji |
Updated: January 23, 2017 10:59:49 am
goa, goa elections, goa polls, goa women candidates, socio economic indicators, goa BJP, goa Congress, aam aadmi party, goa aap, women candidate list, indian express news, india news, elections updates AAP has given a higher representation to women than either the Congress or the BJP

In terms of socio-economic indicators such as literacy rates, life expectancy and per capita income, women in Goa may have surpassed the rest of the country. But when it comes to representation in the state’s politics, it remains limited as ever.

In the current assembly polls, the two main national parties have nominated just four women between them. The ruling BJP, which is contesting 36 seats, has named just one woman candidate — Alina Saldanha, sitting MLA from Cartolim. In the 2012 elections, the BJP had not fielded any woman candidate; Saldanha would win in a byelection later that year.

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The Congress, which is contesting 36 seats, has given tickets to three women — MLA Jennifer Monserrate from Taleigao, Savitiri Kavlekar from Sanguem and Urmila Naik from Marcaim. In the last assembly elections, the Congress had fielded two women candidates of whom Monserrate won.

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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has given a higher representation to women than either the Congress or the BJP, It has nominated five candidates — Ursula D’Souza from Aldona, Loretta D’Souza from Vasco, Cecille Rodriguez from Taleigao, Yoyla Fernandes from Benaulim and Shraddha Khalap from Mapusa.

The regional parties have not given representation to any woman candidate.

Women constitute 49.32 per cent of the population in Goa. In a state often portrayed as progressive as women-friendly, however, only one woman was elected in the 2012 elections. She was later joined by the BJP’s Saldanha, who won a byelection that was necessitated by her husband’s death. In the preceding elections of 2007, too, there had been only one woman MLA.

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This low representation comes in a state that has had a woman chief minister, Shashikala Kakodkar, from 1973 to 1979.

“The role of women in political decision-making is totally absent in Goa. The progressiveness of the state is a media image that has been projected. The exploitative side of Goan society has been kept hidden under wraps,” said Sabina Martins, convener, Goa Bachao Abhiyan.

Martins felt women in the state are not vocal and assertive of their rights. It is this very reason, in fact, that some politicians cite while justifying the denial of tickets to women.

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“We are willing to give tickets. It is just that there are not many women who are ready to come forward,” claimed Maharashtra Gomantak Party patron Ramkrishna Sudhin Dhavalikar. His party, a key player in Goa, has not nominated any woman candidate.

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First published on: 23-01-2017 at 02:15:52 am

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