Q. 45.0( 3 Votes )

Take an interview of women representations from local self-governing institutions from your area.

Answer :

The MLA of our district is a woman. She has been in the socio-cultural activities in our region for the last fifteen years. She is vibrant and active. An interview with her was very insightful and motivating.

Q: Do you see women reservation as part of a greater change in the social system?

Ans. I judge the excellence and the ambiance of politics will improve if more women come in. After bearing in mind the structure work for 45 years, it is understandable that we are the weaker sex, whether we like it or not. We are barred from jobs, the economic mainstream, decision-making processes, heritage rights... Whether one is fighting for the Scheduled Castes, the Backward Classes, or the minorities.... the main group that is affected are women. And things have not changed since then. Unless we are assured an access point by law we will never be allowed to participate. I really consider that. Some women say that we should come into decision-making positions on our own stream, but how many have come so far? To all those who say that they will do it on their own, I would like to ask why is the number of seats occupied by women in the legislatures deteriorating?

Q: You have completed some individual efforts at getting many numbers of women party tickets. What have you found to be the barriers?

Ans. We have tried but we have been unproductive because we are neither in the collection panels nor are we represented in decision-making bodies. We give lists, we struggle, we counsel, but they don’t listen to us. The election commission will reserve 33 percent of the seats by ballot for women. These are reserved for women for two terms and are then rotated. In the interim, women can establish themselves and if they are popular they will be able to contest on their own worth as general candidates by the next elections. So each ward has a chance to throw up women. We can launch a deadline of 25 years, or five general elections, by which time the reservations for women could be remoted. If women do not have an entry tip, how will they ever get in?

Q: What is your individual stand on the subject of 33 percent reservation for women?

Ans. As a result of reservation, one million women have been elected to local bodies. In many states they have even surpassed the quota for example, in Karnataka, women constitute 47 percent of the elected panchayat members. Bengal has also been a triumph story, as have Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. We need reforms not just for women the whole system of selection of candidates needs to be renovated.

Q: How did this issue get included in your party’s manifesto?

Ans. We had argued for its early introduction so that negotiations and debate could be allowed. Finally, when it was introduced, those who had never spoken about reservation for Backward Classes suddenly become the champions of Backward Class reservations. Between 1991, when the Panchayath bill was introduced, until 1996 when this bill is on the edge of being introduced, these people did not coherent any of their concerns for the Backward Class men! The issue gains importance only now because women are about to gain seats.

Q: Do you think this is just party games or something else?

Ans. No, no, even women in our party stood up to oppose the bill. There is a lobby of self-interest amongst women as well. The matter is different among the patriarchal viewpoint. They ask; Once decisions are taken, why have a women’s meeting?

Q: What is the status now?

Ans. A Select Committee has been set up. I am not recommending anything. Based on the various Commission reports we made reservations on the services. Nobody had spoken about proviso for Backward Classes or others in Parliament or legislatures. Women cut across all sections and by giving reservations to them you will be serving women from all sections to come forward. There are presently no reserved constituencies for the Backward Classes and minorities, so why should this issue get tied up with a reservation for women?

The interview session was so encouraging, and the MLA winded up the conversation by laying high remarks about the future of the whole society.

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