Only platitudes, not many tickets for women in Karnataka
BANGALORE: Platitudes notwithstanding, political parties are chary when it comes to giving representation to women in polls with the BJP fielding just one woman in the Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka and the Congress giving tickets to two women.
While parties have issued tickets to women candidates with either political or cinema background, winnability seems to be the top criterion. A few women-activists are also in the fray.
BJP, for whose Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, women safety is a major issue during his campaign across the country, has fielded just one woman — Shobha Karandlaje –from Udupi-Chikmagalor Lok Sabha constituency in the state which returns 28 members to the Lower House of Parliament.
Karandlaje, who was energy minister during the last BJP Government, is a close confidant of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa. She returned to BJP with Yeddyurappa when the latter decided to merge Karnataka Janata Paksha with BJP.
She will take on the incumbent Jayaprakash Hegde of the Congress and Dhananjay Kumar of the JDS.
Congress, whose poll campaign chief Rahul Gandhi talks of larger representation for women in Parliament has done just a shade better compared to BJP, giving tickets to two women.
Leading Kannada actress Ramya is Congress’ candidate from Mandya. She is also the sitting MP from the constituency, having been elected to 15th Lok Sabha in a bye-election held in August last year.
Lakshmi Hebbalkar is the other woman candidate from Belgaum. Hebbalkar is presently serving as President of Belgaum Rural District Congress Committee.
Faring better than the two main players, Deve Gowda’s JDS and Aam Aadmi Party have fielded three women candidates each in the state.
JDS has fielded three political debutants — Geetha Shivrajkumar from Shimoga, Nandini Alva from Bangalore Central and Ruth Manorama from Bangalore South.
Geetha Shivrajkumar is fielded against Yeddyurappa from Shimoga. Geetha is the daughter of former Chief Minister late S Bangarappa and wife of leading Kannada actor Shivarajkumar.
Nandi Alva will be seen taking on incumbent P C Mohan of the BJP and former Infosys board member V Balakrishnan of the Aam Aadmi Party. Alva is the wife of former Minister Jeevraj Alva and mother in-law of Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi.
Human rights activist Manorama will take on high profile candidates like Ananth Kumar of BJP and Nandan Nilekani of Congress in Bangalore South. Another debutant woman candidate Nina P Nayak of AAP is also in the fray from the constituency.
By fielding Manorama, JDS is eyeing considerable amount of Tamils votes in the constituency. Ananth Kumar is five time MP from Bangalore South.
AAP, which is aiming high fielding candidates for all the 28 seats in the state, has a blend of experience and freshness when it comes to women candidates in the poll fray.
The party has fielded former Minister B T Lalitha Nayak, who has roots in the Janata Parivar, from Gulbarga where she takes on Railway Minister Mallikarjuna Karge.
Nina P Nayak from Bangalore south and Padmamma M V from Mysore are the other two women candidates in the fray on behalf of AAP.
Padmamma, a social activist will take on Journalist Prathap Simha of the BJP and former Minister H Vishwanath of the Congress.