New Delhi: Addressing the under-representation of women in the Parliament, BJP spokesperson for Uttar Pradesh, Anila Singh, Friday said she only sees a “mard sabha” in both houses.
Singh was addressing a panel discussion on Sanjay Kumar’s book titled ‘Women Voters in Indian Elections Changing Trends and Emerging Patterns’ that was hosted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and the Konrad Adenaur Stiftung in Delhi.
The discussion was also attended by several other politicians from various parties, including Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena deputy leader Priyanka Chaturvedi, Congress leader Alka Lamba, Samajwadi Party leader Ghanshyam Tiwari, RJD spokesperson Nawal Kishore and AAP leader Sanjay Jha.
“Mujhe mard sabha dikhti hai (I see a men’s Parliament). The representation of women in Parliament or state legislatures is not enough,” Singh said.
She also vouched for a 48 per cent reservation instead of 33 per cent for women in the Parliament and state assemblies. Lamba, also on the panel, agreed with Singh.
Chaturvedi, meanwhile, said that while women have “arrived” in terms of how they exercise their franchise, they were not given enough tickets.
“There is no time for women to fight among each other and find faults in one another. We need to come together and further the gender cause,” said Chaturvedi.
During the event, data on the number of seats given to women by various political parties in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls was also discussed.
‘I also like to wear torn jeans, go to nightclubs’
One issue that resonated among all members of the panel was ways to increase the participation of women in politics and electoral offices.
Singh pointed out how parents often fail to discuss a career in politics for their daughters. To this, Chaturvedi said she has started a six-month fellowship programme for young women to help prepare them for the world of politics. This included internships with sitting MPs and women leaders.
Chaturvedi also said women were “silent voters” which is why so many exit polls get “the numbers wrong”.
Despite belonging to different political parties, Lamba, Chaturvedi and Singh supported each other on the issue of women’s representation in politics.
Lamba also said she had “huge hopes” from Chaturvedi — a Rajya Sabha MP — of being able to turn things around. Singh, meanwhile, said she “idolised” both Chaturvedi and Lamba for being self-made women in the arena of politics.
Singh also called out the scrutiny that women in politics often face, in terms of who they speak to, what they wear or how they conduct themselves.
“I also like to wear torn jeans and go to nightclubs. We need to stop judging women so much,” she said.