Odisha Chief Minister Naveeen Patnaik on Tuesday announced that his Biju Janata Dal party had given tickets to seven female candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, in keeping with his promise to set aside 33% tickets for women. Odisha has 21 Lok Sabha constituencies and will vote in four phases on April 11, April 18, April 23 and April 29.
“We stand by our promise,” Patnaik told reporters after announcing the candidature of Chandrani Murmu from the Keonjhar, who was the seventh woman to get a ticket, according to PTI.
For the Assembly elections, which will be held simultaneously in the state, only 14 women have been nominated so far, Hindustan Times said. There are 147 Assembly constituencies in Odisha and the full candidate list has not yet been announced.
The other women that the BJD has fielded for the Lok Sabha elections are Kaushalya Hikaka (Koraput seat), Rajashree Mallick (Jagatsinghpur), Sarmistha Sethi (Jajpur) Pramila Bisoyi (Aska), Sunita Biswal (Sundergarh) and Manjulata Mandal (Bhadrak), according to Odisha Sun Times.
On March 10, Patnaik, who has been chief minister of Odisha since 2000, announced that his party will allocate a third of its tickets to women. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJD sent only three women to Parliament. It won 20 out of 21 seats in the states that year.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has fielded 17 women (of 42 candidates) in her Trinamool Congress, a representation of 41%.
In the international Women in National Parliaments list this released this year, India stood 149th out of 193 countries with regard to women’s representation. In the outgoing Lok Sabha, there are 66 female MPs (out of 543 seats), which comes to 12.6%, as 22 seats are vacant.
The Women’s Reservation Bill, which seeks to reserve 33% seats in Lok Sabha and state legislatures for women, was introduced in Parliament in 2008 and was cleared by the Rajya Sabha but lapsed before it could be implemented with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 2014.