In the 2014 general elections, not even a single woman candidate could manage to win in the state known for its skewed gender ratio.
A total of 11 women candidates are in the fray for the May 12 Lok Sabha polls in Haryana, which in the 53 years of its existence has elected only five women parliamentarians. In the 2014 general elections, not even a single woman candidate could manage to win in the state known for its skewed gender ratio, while six out ten parliamentary constituencies here have never elected a woman MP.
Although, no women candidates contesting independently in the state have ever made it to the lower house of parliament, this time, seven of the 11 female candidates are independents. Chandravati, a former Janta Party leader became the first ever woman MP from the state in 1977 when she defeated political stalwart Chaudhary Bansi Lal from Bhiwani constituency. She later joined the Congress and also served as the Governor of Puducherry in 1990.
Of the 151 MPs elected from the state so far (including when it was a part of Punjab), women were elected only eight times. Congress’ Kumari Selja, a Rajya Sabha MP, is the only women to have been elected to Lok Sabha thrice, twice from Ambala and once from Sirsa.
Selja who is contesting the elections this time from Ambala, told PTI, “The state has progressed a lot when it comes to women but a lot needs to be done. We need more and more women leaders to address the issues.” Shruti Chaudhary, grand daughter of former Chief Minister, Chaudhary Bansi Lal, who was elected as an MP in 2009 general elections from Bhiwani-Mahendargarh constituency, is also in the fray this time.
“Women can be strong politicians. My mother (Kiran Chaudhary) has also proved herself. Its a pity that such a small number of women MPs are elected and I appeal the women in the state to rise up,” Chaudhary told PTI. In the 1999 elections, the state sent two women MPs to Lok Sabha–BJP’s Sudha Yadav from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh and Kailasho Saini of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) from Kurukshetra.
Saini, who has been an MP from the state twice is now in the Congress. While the main political parties of the state fielded three women, including Shruti Choudhary, INLD’s Kusum Sherwal from Ambala and Aam Aadmi Party’s Balwinder Kaur from Kurukshetra, the BJP had not fielded even a single woman candidate in the last general elections.
However, this time the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has chosen former bureaucrat Sunita Duggal, who is making her electoral debut from Sirsa. Also testing the political waters for the first time is Swati Yadav, fielded by the Aam Aadmi Party-Jannayak Janta Party alliance from Mahendargarh-Bhiwani constituency. Swati is the Director of Euro Group of Schools, which has a chain of 11 schools in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).
Haryana was constituted in November 1966, after the partition of Punjab into two separate states– Hindi-speaking Haryana and Punjabi-speaking Punjab.