With General Elections less than two months away, a lot of focus is on the political climate of the country. This time there are concentrated grassroots citizens’ collectives working towards bringing inclusivity and diversity in our political spectrum. One such collective Political Shakti is gaining support from across the board to put pressure on not just the parties but also the Election Commission of India to bring more women representatives in politics by compelling them to give more party tickets to women.

“As part of working towards the 2019 elections, our whole focus is on bringing more women MPs to get elected in parliament. For this, we have been running campaigns either by pressurizing the parties themselves to give more tickets to women and to promote women who contest in the election. But we realized that there is another stakeholder in this entire process to control how fair the elections are and how many women enter the election ballot and that is the EC.

No public pressure has been applied on the EC and while that hasn’t happened, there have been at least two Election Commissioners of India—Manohar Singh Gill and Shahabuddin Yakoob Qureshi, who have been vocal about urging parties to give more tickets to women and even, released public statements in this regard in the past. They have even gone ahead and said that the parties have been undemocratic in their behaviour and it is unacceptable,” Political Shakti head, Tara Krishnaswamy told SheThePeople.TV.

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Krishnaswamy noted that EC is required to conduct elections and since this dynamic of gender equality has come from within the EC in the past so it is not unheard of. But the public itself has never gone to the EC on behalf of the country to say that the election process is unfair. “The job of the EC is only to conduct free and fair elections and one of their key jobs is to ascertain whether parties are registered or not. Last year the EC revoked hundreds of parties but if you look at the break-up of the EC, they say that we will only register parties which adhere to democratic behaviour and constitutional values. And if that’s the case, then where is the democracy when parties are not giving enough tickets to women for decades?”

It is not a protest but an assembly of women and right-thinking men to demand the EC to give us our fair due. When the public gets the message, through them the parties also get the message. So our goal is to exert pressure on all the people who are not doing the right thing.

This March 7, Political Shakti in a public gathering in seven cities Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chittoor, Bengaluru, 17 districts of Maharashtra, New Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram will pressurize the EC to intervene on women’s behalf to get parties to give tickets to women.

india election 2018 Vasundhara Raje

“It is not a protest, but an assembly of women and right-thinking men to demand the EC to give us our fair due. When the public gets the message, through them the parties also get the message. So our goal is to exert pressure on all the people who are not doing the right thing. The reason why we are here 70 years after the independence is because the political parties are failing women of India. This can only be corrected if there is public pressure and collective citizen activism,” she said on how we can build pressure on parties to give equal space to women in politics.

Picture credit: Indian Express

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