Women remain sidelined in K'taka Assembly polls

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Bangalore, May 19 (UNI) Despite the tabling of Women's Reservation in Parliament, the political will to empower women is in doubt as only 32 candidates from the fairer sex have been given tickets by various political parties to contest the Assembly elections in Karnataka.

Though women constitute about 50 per cent of the population, they comprised less than five per cent (108 candidates) of the 2,242 contestants in the fray.

The total number of women candidates fielded by seven national parties--the BJP, Congress, CPI, CPI (M), BSP, JD(S) and the NCP -- together accounted only 32 for the 224-member House.

Among the main political parties, the BJP, which put up candidates in all the 224 seats, had accommodated only ten women in its candidates' list.

Ms Sonia Gandhi-led Congress had given tickets to 11 women candidates though the party is constesting 222 seats.

BSP has nominated ten women candidates and the JD (S),contesting 219 seats, had fielded ten women nominees.

The Left Parties who were very vocal in demanding the tabling of Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament recently have, however, fielded only a single woman among the 19 candidates in the fray.

There are only 45 women candidates among 898 independents. The third phase of the elections were scheduled to be held on May 22.

UNI MV MSP RL AS1244

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