the remedy introduced to cure these ills could lead to problems
worse than the disease. Not only will it not really empower
the women but also it would open up a whole set of additional
us look at the existing scenario (without such an Act in
place). There are 15% constituencies permanently reserved
for SC and 7.5% reserved for STs. With the latest census
figures in, this percentage is likely to increase to 25%.
For some time now there have been some difficulties with
this permanent reservation of constituencies without rotation.
In reserved constituencies, the other sections do not have
an opportunity to contest elections and the SCs in general
constituencies are denied representation.
this backdrop a bill had to be drafted to enhance the representation
of women in legislatures. Because the percentage of reserved
constituencies including those for women would now increase
to 50.6%, and because it is just not politically feasible
to permanently reserve that many constituencies, they made
a provision for rotation.
why do the politicians oppose this bill? This rotation,
while it solved one problem has introduced a new problem.
When 50% of the reserved seats are rotated, incumbents in
all constituencies get unseated. So every politician ends
up giving up/losing his carefully nurtured constituency
to somebody else. Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and others are
using the excuse of reservation for OBC women to block this
wholly impractical Bill. In any case, if this Bill becomes
law, the male candidates replaced will nominate their female
relatives as proxy candidates to keep the seats warm for
them, and the women elected on their own will never be able
to build a political base as they will lose the seats on
there are sensible and time-tested solutions available.
A close look at past elections shows that while 10% of all
male candidates were elected, the success rate of women
was higher at 17%. Among party candidates, only 26% of men
were elected, as opposed to 32% of women! Clearly voters
have never discriminated against women candidates. It is
political parties which deny women the opportunity. A simple
answer therefore is to have a law to ensure that parties
nominate women candidates in one-third seats. Then there
would be enough serious women candidates available in the
field, and there will be no need for rotation of reservation,
as constituencies are not reserved. Such party quotas have
been mandatory in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany and France,
dramatically increasing women's representation.
taking into account the best practices elsewhere, our politicians
indulge in distorted public discourse and politics of tokenism.
And we keep on hearing of women's reservation without any
action. Let us hope this time around parties will adopt
this model of party quotas as law, and ensure fair representation
for women in legislatures.