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Pros & Cons Of 33% Reservation For Women From Odisha In Parliament During 2019 Elections


12 March 2019

Snigdha Chandan Das


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Bhubaneswar: “Few days without women in house, men won’t be able to survive as most of them don’t know how to cook. We are dependent on women, so what is the harm if they take charge,” questioned senior journalist Priya Sahu on Chief Minister Naveen Patanik’s announcement of sending 33 per cent women to Parliament from Odisha. The surprise declaration on Sunday in Kendrapara definitely drew speculations from various sectors and like every new change this too holds pros and cons.

Let us take a look at the Cons:

  1. Might Ruffle Feathers Of Hopeful Male Candidates

Odisha has 21 seats in Lok Sabha and in 2014 elections, Biju Janata Dal had won 20. Among the 20, the three woman MPs in the Lok Sabha are Keonjhar MP Sakuntala Laguri, Jajpur MP Rita Tarai and Kandhamal MP Pratyusha Rajeshwari Singh.

After CM’s announcement, the party will have to find at least 7 women candidates (33% of 21 seats), which indicates that apart from the 3 sitting woman MPs, a call has to be taken on four more candidates. This means that out of the 20 male MPs, four will lose their candidature and a woman might be fielded from the area. Poll pundits have opined that this may ruffle some feathers and the hopeful male candidates may start working against the party. Eventually, this may lead to problems within the party and unforeseen political implications may follow.

  1. Short Time Period To Find Women With Winnability Factor

With only one month left for polls, the public is anticipating the list of candidates. Today, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that BJD will focus on fielding candidates who have the winnability factor. Finding seven such woman candidates with strong grassroots connection and public persona might be a difficult challenge for the party. A rushed decision in this case might put BJD in a tough spot in the coming months.

Let us take a look at the Pros:

  1. Beneficial Move For BJD & Naveen Patnaik

As women are a part and parcel of the society comprising around 50 percent of the total population, they should have more access to political participation and be the stakeholders in making of policies. “With the 33% reservation announcement and schemes like Mission Shakti, the party looks at a strong woman vote bank,” said senior journalist Dilip Bisoi.

“People will also realize that CM Naveen Patnaik does what he says and is not like other leaders who only provide ‘lip-service’. He did not just pass a resolution for 33% reservation in assembly and Parliament, but also went on to make the change in his own party. This will be beneficial for the party and Naveen Patnaik will be seen as a crusader of women empowerment,” he explained.

  1. Strong Women Candidates

The poll pundit said, “There are many educated women in BJD, so there is no dearth of good women candidates. BJD leader Raseswari Panigrahi is a doctor. Tirtol MLA Rajashree is also a doctor. These are politically strong candidates.”

Another senior journalist Priya Ranjan Sahu explained, “Earlier, Odisha Government had increased women reservation in Government jobs and Panchayati Raj department to 50 per cent. Following that many strong-willed women had led the way in the ground level, so there should be no problem in finding good candidates.”

  1. Message Of Gender Equality Will Put Other Parties In A Fix

Sahu concluded, “Odisha will become an example in gender equality across India. It is an under-represented State in the national level but this move will send a message loud and clear. Women in parties like BJP, BSP, Congress, Samajwadi Party and others will raise their voice and start demanding for their rights within their respective parties. These parties will be in a difficult position and will have to rethink about their policies on empowering women within their own party. Let the revolution begin.”

Also Read: Will Fight On Our Own, Candidate Selection Will Be On Winnability: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik

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Dilip Bisoi, Senior Journalist

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Priya Sahu, Senior Journalist