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Women’s Votes Hold Key To Upcoming Elections, Know Which Party Offers What


09 March 2019

Debashish Maharana


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Bhubaneswar: As the population of women constitutes a major chunk in our national demography as well as their votes are evidently playing a decisive role in a democracy like India, political parties are seen doling out sops in each of the States, including Odisha, to woo the women voters into their respective kitty for electoral gains.

With the general elections (Lok Sabha across India and poll for Odisha assembly) inching closer, the political parties-chiefly Congress, BJP and BJD-have come up with their respective special schemes and policies for the women voters.

While Odisha’s ruling BJD has already offered scores of schemes, especially for the women, Congress and BJP are also not far behind.

BJD’s main schemes for women:

1) Mission Shakti (Financial support at zero percent loan and other incentives to women self help groups for their socio-economic empowerment)

2) Mamata (Monetary support for pregnant women and lactating mothers)

3) Free Smartphone Yojana for Women Farmers

4) Khushi for adolescent girls of Classes 6 to 12

5) Sudakhya Yojana to Encourage Girls for Technical Education

6) SAMPURNA for pregnant women to reduce Infant Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Rate

7) Mukhyamantri Mahila Sashaktikaran Yojana

8) Biju Kanya Ratna Yojana to improve child sex ratio by helping girls development in education and health

9) Rs 7 lakh annual health insurance coverage per woman members of a family

10) Strongly championing for 33% reservation for women in both Parliament and State Assemblies

BJP’s main schemes for women:

1) Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

2) Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY) is a small deposit scheme for the girl child launched as a part of the 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' campaign by the Central Government

Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s new announcements on the occasion of Intenational Women’s Day (March 8)

1) Financial assistance to poor girls eligible for marriage

2) Free higher education (both general and technical) for girls and women

3) Increase in Widow Pension Allowance to Rs 2000

4) Special Officer at every panchayat to look after women’s welfare

5) Financial Corporation at every panchayat to assist and boost up women entrepreneurs

Apart from this, he assured to get the 33% reservation for women bill passed as it has been pending in Parliament since Congress-led UPA Government’s second stint.

Talking to OMMCOM NEWS, senior journalist and political analyst Dilip Bisoi said, “If we go through the history of elections (in India), the women play the decisive role ensuring which party would come to power. Out of the total voters, women are about 50 percent and they cast their votes in a particular pattern. Hence, all the political parties are trying to woo the women votes.”

He stated, “Biju Janata Dal (BJD)’s very big programme is Mission Shakti that has around 70 lakhs women members. They have been accorded lots of incentives and have kept intact in an organized manner. The 70 lakh women are mostly the vote bank of BJD.”

He added, “BJP for the past few years has launched Ujjwala Yojana to lure the women by distributing LPG connection free of cost.”

He further stated, “After winning elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan by playing the farmer card, Rahul Gandhi has now come up with three things meant for the women. Congress has promised to enhance the widow allowance to Rs 2000, marriage kit to the girls and free education to the girls.”

“The major thing, that is going to have a considerable impact on the upcoming elections now across India, is the women reservation in both the Lok Sabha and Assemblies,” viewed the senior scribe.

He remarked, “In toto, Mission Shakti is till date a vote bank of BJD. Hence, both BJP and Congress are on their all out efforts to break this vote bank of BJD. It is evident from BJP’s Ujjwala Yojana and the recent promises made by the Congress. The results of the ensuing elections will prove the preference of the women voters.”

Senior journalist and poll pundit Sandeep Sahu opined, “Out of the total population, the women constitute about 50 percent. The three main political parties are obviously trying to woo the women votes.”

He cited, “In the past we have noticed that BJD has been mustering massive support from the women voters. Especially in 2014, the prime cause behind the landslide victory of BJD was that the women cast their votes enormously in favour of Naveen Patnaik.”

“In a bid to break that vote bank, Congress and BJP are obviously striving. As BJP is not in power here (Odisha), the party has nothing to show off, except Ujjwala Yojana, what it has done. Even though many women have certainly been benefitted by Ujjwala, I don’t think it would be sufficient to dent into the BJD’s women vote bank. Rather Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s yesterday’s announcements may more attract the women I think,” opined the political analyst.

He concluded, “BJD is ahead of all the political parties in appeasing all the categories of people. Thus, I think a substantial number of women will support BJD, mainly for its Mission Shakti empowerment in comparison to BJP’s Ujjwala.”

Also Read: Odisha Is The Best Performing State In Eastern India In Terms Of Human Development Index: SBI

Also Read: Odisha Gets More Train Stoppages On Experimental Basis, Frequency Of Two Trains Increased

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Dilip Bisoi, Senior Journalist

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Sandeep Sahu, Senior Journalist