Shweta Shetty, a Hyderabad-based doctor who launched the National Women’s Party (NWP) in December last year, has said that the party will field candidates in 283 Lok Sabha seats. “The main aim is to fight for 50 per cent reservation for women in Parliament,” she said.
Prominent people who have joined the NWP include Padma Venkataraman, daughter of former President R Venkataraman, and Naina Jadeja, sister of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja. “Women comprise nearly 50 per cent of the total population. But if you look at political participation in Parliament, it is about 11 per cent and in the state Assemblies, it is just 9 per cent… Only women can understand what laws will ensure women empowerment,” Shetty said.
“Our candidates are mostly women who work in the NGO sector and have grassroots experience. There are many retired IAS officers who are joining our party. The candidates will depend on their own resources for campaigning,” Shetty added.
The NWP had initially planned to contest the 2018 Madhya Pradesh Assembly election, but the plan had to be dropped “as the party was not fully prepared to hold election campaigns”. Now with only a few months to go for the general election, Shetty said, “We will have to harness the power of social media and micro networking to campaign this time. Those working in NGOs have local face value. We are banking on that.”