Parties woo women voters

Politics State

Key political parties are developing welfare schemes, especially for women.

In the upcoming Legislative Assembly Election, the focus of political parties across Karnataka is more on women’s empowerment.

Neeraj Shritar, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) member said, “The current political situation requires women power.”

He added that in the upcoming election, 15 percent of seats in KPCC have been reserved for women. Gruha Lakshmi Scheme will benefit all housewives especially housewives in rural areas from low-income families.

On January 16, All India Congress Committee leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, speaking at the party convention for women named ‘Na Nayaki Samavesha’announced that  Rs. 2,000 per month would be credited to the account of every woman head of household. This scheme would benefit 1.5 crore women in the state. She also mentioned that a separate manifesto for women will be brought out in Karnataka.

Karnataka Pradesh Mahila Congress President Pushpa Amarnath has asked the party to give at least 30 tickets to women to contest poll in the upcoming assembly election.

Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in response said BJP’s ideology has always been about women’s empowerment. The party does not believe in giving freebies to women in order to empower them.

In September 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a core party committee meeting in Karnataka and asked ‘Why no women among you?’

Manjunath G, Bangalore City Central President, BJP said, “For this election, the first point of our party’s upcoming manifesto is about women empowerment. Our party does not believe in the distribution of freebies. This is because it is against the development of our own country.” He continued, that the party has always encouraged women to actively participate in politics since it came to power in 2014.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, speaking at the BJP Mahila Morcha National Executive meeting said, “Women must become the focal point of development. They have already made a mark in the fields of science, aerospace, engineering, IT/BT, and others. The government will extend all the help for them to lead a life of self-respect and self-reliance.”

The chief minister has also announced that the state budget will be women-friendly. The government will launch the Stree Samarthya Yojana in the coming state budget. Under the scheme, the government will provide financial assistance of up to Rs. five lakhs for women to start their own businesses. The government is aiming to generate five lakh self-employed women through this scheme in the state.

Nayana Jhawar, who is aspiring to contest the election from the Congress party said, “If the current government is so concerned about women’s empowerment, then why they did not implement the scheme before?”

She continued, unlike other parties, Congress has always given equal importance to women voters. “Our party’s Gruha Lakshmi scheme will provide financial independence to women in Karnataka,” she said. The party has also encouraged women in the state to send in their suggestions to an official party email id and phone number.

“Every other day, the BJP and the Congress are coming up with a new scheme but in reality, they are not doing anything,” said Prathap Kanagal, spokesperson for Janata Dal (Secular). He added that the ruling government can go to any extent to lure voters into voting for them.

Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Secretary, Usha Mohan said, “We are the only party who has accomplished the complete manifesto, which we had given. The Congress party in Delhi is opposing the AAP for giving free electricity but it is now doing the complete opposite in Karnataka.”

The Congress has said if the party gets elected to power, they will provide free electricity for up to 200 units to all homes in the state.

Usha continued, “Our party always stands for the good in the sector of education and health. In the coming days, we will get the manifesto to clearly focus on our agenda of working towards the betterment of the people.”

Dr. Ajinkya Gaikwad, Assistant Professor of Politics said, “Women’s voting percentage has increased in the last couple of years. Our society is still very patriarchal and gender disparity is very much visible. Because of that these political parties are trying to bridge the gap by setting a women’s empowerment agenda.”

He added, “Not all voters read the manifesto before voting but because of social media people are aware of the developmental schemes in the manifesto.”

Dr. Sudeshna Mukherjee, professor of women’s studies at Bangalore University said, “Women are emerging as a strong vote bank for political parties nowadays. Not only Karnataka other states like West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh is also promoting women empowerment agenda.”