Women empowerment and women friendly schemes are on the manifesto of every political party for the upcoming assembly elections. While women are leading campaigns for some parties, they are at the helm of affairs for others but none of that has changed the fact that representation of women candidates cutting across party lines is abysmal.
While very few women are in the electoral fray, most are family members of existing or former male leaders of the party. Priyanka Gandhi and Dimple Yadav have been projected as the star campaigners for the Congress-Samajwadi party alliance in UP but representation of women candidates is dismal in both parties. Of the 324 candidates that the SP has announced so far, there are 24 women including senior leaders of the party like Arun Kumari Kori and Sushila Saroj. The Congress has so far announced 43 candidates of which two are women, including the founder of the famous Gulabi gang.
A party like the Bahujan Samaj Party that is led by a woman is no better. Out of the 401 candidates that the party has named so far only 18 are women. In 18 women candidates are also either relatives or family members of male leaders of the party. It is all in the family for these women leaders.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has so far announced 304 candidates for UP assembly seats of which 36 are women, a number slightly better than its counterparts. Like in the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party, many of the female candidates in the BJP are also related to party members.
While wooing women voters in on the agenda for every party, the same interest goes poof whilst selecting candidates for constituencies.