After BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor wrote to NCW Chief Rekha Sharma asking her to take up the matter of women’s inclusion in Delhi’s Legislative Assembly with the CM, Sharma today sent a letter to Arvind Kejriwal. In the letter, she expressed the concern that no women representative has been given a berth in his council of ministers.
It also conveys that political equality, leadership and power-sharing as some of the most basic, intrinsically valuable assets which are also key to equality on other realms. “All citizens are supposed to be given equal representation and leadership irrespective of gender,” it said.
Sharma has requested Kejriwal to consider inducting a couple of women legislators in the council of ministers of Delhi Legislative Assembly as gender-responsive governance. It would “enable women to have equal say in decision making” affecting “the lives of the citizens, their policies, and their environment to achieve equality of rights as well as participate in the development of the country”.
Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal had a clean sweep victory in the Delhi assembly election on February 11. Of the 70 seats, AAP won 62 while BJP won eight seats. While AAP won with a clear majority, of its nine women candidates, eight won the election and yet none of them was considered to be a part of the Delhi cabinet. Kejriwal said that he would keep his cabinet intact as it was in his earlier stint as a CM. A majority of people expressed disbelief and angst over Kejriwal not even including Atishi who won from Kalkaji in the legislative assembly.
Atishi has taken on many roles. She served as the education advisor from July 2015 to April 17, 2018. She has also been involved in drafting the manifesto of the party for the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections among other things.
Rakhi Birla, who is serving her second term as an MLA with AAP from Mangolpuri (SC), has also been kept away from the cabinet. Earlier, she held Women & Child, Social Welfare and Languages ministries in the cabinet. In 2016, she also became the Deputy Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly, becoming the youngest person ever to hold the position.
“All citizens are supposed to be given equal representation and leadership irrespective of gender,” the letter says.
Even the policies including the free ride for women in Delhi buses, CCTV installation and equipping buses with marshals, etc. have been criticized across the board for dealing with the issue of women’s safety from the point of surveillance, and not focussing on sensitizing men into not committing crimes against women. A very big reason for this could be the missing women in the Delhi cabinet as it would have diversified these policy-making discussions.