Even though political parties from all walks of life are loudly claiming their work for the empowerment of women, they could not follow the word when it came to giving tickets to female candidates.
Of the 175 candidates vying for the 14 seats in the Ludhiana assembly, only 12 (6%) candidates are women. While among the major parties, only the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) trusted the female candidates, the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which are fighting in alliance with the Punjab Lok Congress, didn’t even line up a woman for one of the 14 seats.
The AAP fielded two candidates, the incumbent MP for Jagraon, Sarvjit Kaur Manuke, and the first time Rajinder Pal Kaur of Ludhiana South. Manuke had recorded a landslide victory in the 2017 parliamentary election, winning 61,521 votes from Jagraon.
SAD lined up Jasdeep Kaur Yadu of Khanna after her husband Yadwinder Singh failed to secure a stay of sentence in a Punjab and Haryana High Court case to contest the 2022 elections.
Surinder Kaur Bains, the wife of incumbent Atam Nagar MP and Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) leader Simarjit Singh Bains, is an accidental candidate. She had filed her paperwork as a cover candidate for her husband, but forgot to withdraw her candidacy, due to which she ended up becoming an independent candidate in a melee against her husband. Surinder, however, campaigned on behalf of her husband.
The LIP presented a female candidate, Tejinder Kaur Sandhu from Jagraon.
The Bahujan Mukti Party gave tickets to two candidates – Promila Ralhan Bani from Ludhiana North and Anita Shah from Ludhiana West.
Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party fielded Manju from Ludhiana North.
In Payal constituency, Rajdeep Kaur got the ticket from Jai Jawan Jai Kisan party and Aas Punjab party gave ticket to Sarabjit Kaur to participate in Ludhiana West.
Samrala’s Kamaljit Kaur and Sahnewal’s Surinder Pal Kaur are running as independent candidates respectively.
What they say
“AAP believes in empowering women. Although I was fighting my first Assembly election, I was also offered a ticket in 2017. It was canceled after AAP allied with LIP here. We already have a woman MP from Jagraon. The ruling party has betrayed women here, but voters will not be fooled this time,” said Rajinder Pal Kaur.
Meanwhile, Pushpinder Singhal, the BJP district chairman, while defending his party for not fielding any female candidates in Ludhiana, said, “BJP has the maximum number of female councilors in the municipality here. Moreover, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given key ministries to women in the unity government”
“The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna program for women is another example of her vision for empowering women in the country. When allocating the tickets in Punjab, our party chose the best candidates for each seat, it was not intentional that there were no female candidates from here,” he added.
On the other hand, Ashwani Sharma, Chairman of the Congressional District (Urban) Committee, said that although the Congress did not present women for seats in Ludhiana, but across the state, the male-to-female ratio in terms of ticket allocation is decent.
Taking a dig at AAP, he added: ‘Congress has strong women including Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana but Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has not included any women. minister in his cabinet in Delhi.”