Odisha sends 21 MPs to the Lok Sabha. In 2014, the BJD had fielded two women candidates in Jajpur and Keonjhar. Later, it fielded another woman candidate from Kandhamal after its sitting MP died.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced that his party Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which is ruling the state since 2000, will give tickets to women in at least 33% of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the upcoming general elections.
“I would like to announce that Odisha will send 33% women to Parliament in the coming elections. It was a dream of Biju Babu to empower women,” he said on Sunday while speaking at the ‘Mission Shakti’ convention in Kendrapara district.
Patnaik added that it was Biju Babu, his late father, who for the first time implemented 33% reservation for women in the three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions and government jobs.
Patnaik said that women of Odisha will lead the way in women empowerment in the country and called on the BJP and Congress to follow suit. “They should be true to their words and must follow what they are propagating for women empowerment,” the CM said.
Patnaik, however, didn’t confirm whether the same formula will be implemented in the assembly elections.
Both the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state will be held simultaneously in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29. The counting of votes for all the Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies will be held on May 23.
If the BJD fields women in at least 33% of the parliamentary seats in the state, it will become the first political party to do so.
The announcement comes just a few days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi visited the state and promised that if grand old party returns to power, he will get the Women’s Reservation Bill (108th Constitution Amendment Bill) passed.
Odisha sends 21 MPs to the Lok Sabha. In 2014, the BJD had fielded two women candidates in Jajpur and Keonjhar. Later, it fielded another woman candidate from Kandhamal after its sitting MP died. The same year, when previous Assembly poll was held, the party had fielded 14 women candidates.
While BJD had won 20 parliament seats in 2014, the BJP bagged just one seat. The Congress drew a blank.