It may come as a surprise but the voters of Sonepat’s Baroda constituency have never elected a woman as their representative in the assembly elections since Haryana became a state. This rural constituency has elected 13 MLAs so far, all males and 9 out of 13 legislators were not permanent residents of this constituency.
The seat fell vacant after the demise of Congress MLA Sri Krishan Hooda on April 12, who won from the seat in 2009, 2014 and 2019 assembly polls. The voting for the Baroda byelection will be held on November 3 and results will be out on November 10. Hooda hailed from Khidwali village in Garhi-Sampla Kiloi constituency from where he was elected thrice before shifting to this rural seat in 2009.
Baroda was a reserved seat till 2005 and had been wrenched by the candidates belonging to Devi Lal and OP Chautala’s party from 1977 to 2005. The saffron party’s nominee has never won from the Baroda constituency, which has 54 villages. Half the voters here belong to the Jat community. In the 2019 assembly elections, Congress nominee Sri Krishan Hooda defeated wrestler-turned-politician Yogeshwar Dutt by 4,840 votes. Haryana assembly has only nine women MLAs.
Also read: Haryana BJP poll panel meets in Sonepat to discuss Baroda byelection candidate
Women empowerment remains a distant dream in Haryana which, for years, has known for the skewed sex ratio and high rates of crime against women. Haryana has only nine women legislators in the state assembly. Five of them are from Congress, three from BJP and Naina Chautala is the only woman MLA from the Jannayak Janata party. In 2014, the house had the highest, 13 women MLAs, 9 in 2009, 11 in 2005 and 4 in 2000.
In the last year assembly polls, the ruling BJP had brought down women’s representation from 15 to 12, the main opposition party, Congress, pitted only 9 against 10 in 2014 assembly polls. Similarly, the INLD has pitched 15 women candidates against 16 that the party had fielded in the last assembly polls and its offshoot the JJP had given tickets to only 7 females.
Neerja Ahlawat, retired deputy director, women’s studies and research centre, Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, said all the political parties betrayed women in Haryana and across the country too by making tall false claims of giving women representation in the assembly and parliamentary polls.
“The political parties are of the view that the chance of winning an election of a female candidate is less than that of a male candidate, which is not true. The women are getting late exposure than men in terms of education, political and social scenario. Women’s issues can be raised strongly only by them and most of the active women leaders are an example of dynasty politics. It is very hard to believe that any party will give a ticket to a woman in the Baroda bypoll, which is dominated by the male community in terms of representation. The political parties prefer to pitch a woman whose ancestors remained active in politics,” she added.
She further said that all the political parties betrayed women voters by reducing the number of women candidates in the 2019 assembly polls. She advocated for women representation at all levels.
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