Bhubaneswar : Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik a couple back days back had urged the Prime Minister to initiate steps to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill that would ensure a third of seats in Parliament and state assemblies for women.
In the run-up to 2019 Lok Sabha and assembly polls, Naveen’s pro-women intent has set in motion of flurry of activities in the regional outfit-BJD with lobbying for tickets picking pace by women aspirants.
The women’s reservation agenda by Patnaik, who used to push the woman self-help group agenda with his Mission Shakti policy and by helping the party expand its grassroots presence, has come in as a shot in arm for BJD women wing to throw themselves in the ticket race.
The share of women in BJD party tickets has always been on a lower side. Still BJD supremo is likely to give party tickets to more party tickets to women this time than the preceding years. Resultantly, prospective women candidates are hopeful to contest in the coming election in conch symbol.
Incidentally BJD, which had won 84 seats in 2000 Assembly elections, had nominated only nine women candidates. The figure had dropped further to four in 2004. The regional pary had incidentally fought these two elections while sharing seats with BJP. BJD had severed poll alliance with BJP in 2009 polls.
BJD had contested all the 147 assembly seats and fielded only 8 and 15 women candidates in 2009 and 2014 elections.
In all likelihood, there will be more women contestants who will fight on conch symbol in 2019 elections. Patnaik has amply demonstrated his pro-women intent by raising women’s reservation bill issue at the national level. Therefore he is bound to give more tickets to women candidates as intent will be at stake by giving fewer tickets to women, according to analysts.
Former chief minister Biju Patnaik, Naveen’s father, had implemented the policy of reserving one-third of seats in Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies for women in the state in the early 1990s. It’s said to be the first in the country.