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In the last 57 years, Rajasthan’s Jaipur constituency never saw any woman candidate contesting for Lok Sabha elections until now. Congress has fielded former mayor Jyoti Khandelwal in the state that goes to poll in two phases on April 23 and May 6. In 1962, Gayatri Devi won this Lok Sabha constituency in a landslide victory, winning 192,909 votes out of 246,516 casted. Gayatri Devi belonged to Swatantra Party then. Congress also fielded a woman candidate then named Sharda Devi who lost to the then Maharani of Jaipur.

Khandelwal will have to fight against BJP’s Ramcharan Bohara, who defeated Mahesh Joshi of Congress for this seat in  last general elections by nearly 5.40 lakh votes—the largest ever victory in Rajasthan.

During the Rajasthan assembly election last year, Khandelwal had resigned from her post as general secretary of Congress because of her discontentment at not getting a party ticket to contest from Kishanpole assembly constituency of Jaipur. But she retained her primary membership of the party.

Khandelwal will have to fight against BJP’s Ramcharan Bohara, who defeated Mahesh Joshi of Congress for this seat in  last general elections by nearly 5.40 lakh votes—the largest ever victory in Rajasthan.

“Congress President Rahul Gandhi wanted to give women an opportunity to fight elections but the first list of Congress does not really reflect this. Even now, if the party will give me a chance to fight in the election, I will accept the opportunity. I don’t have any grudges with the party but I am disappointed,” she had said then.

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Talking about how Congress has fielded four women candidates in the state, Khandelwal has said in an interview, “Indeed there are challenges in women contesting the election but I have a firm believe that I will get full support of women in Jaipur. Be it social, cultural or religious events, I have always been involved with the women in Jaipur. They would set an example that if a party gives chance to a woman candidate, she can win the elections.” she added.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has promised to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill, which will allow 33% reservation for women in parliament, in the first Lok Sabha session if it comes to power. Other than Khandelwal, the party has fielded Krishna Punia from Churu, Savita Meena from Dausa and Jyoti Mirdha from Nagaur.

Indeed there are challenges in women contesting the election but I have a firm believe that I will get full support of women in Jaipur. – Jyoti Khandelwal

While Punia, an MLA from Sadulpur, is originally from Haryana’s Hisar and an international gold-medalist Indian discus thrower, Meena, is also former MLA who was elected in 2013 when she won from the Kherwara constituency with Bhartiya Samajwadi Party. Mirdha has been a former MP with Congress from the same constituency she is contesting from this year, in the 15th Lok Sabha session between 2009 and 2014. She is the granddaughter of prominent politician Nathuram Mirdha.

She swept the Lok Sabha election with 1.55 lakh votes. As part of the parliament, she took up issues like Health and Family Welfare, and debated on issues concerning generic drugs, bringing more drugs under the price control regime, low expenditure on research and development by pharmaceutical companies, organ donation legislation, and the HPV vaccine.

Picture credit- DNA

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

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