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Karnataka government ignores women MLAs in cabinet expansion, puncturing Rahul Gandhi’s rhetorics

In the 2013 elections, there were 175 women candidates out of a total of 2,945 candidates. out of which the Congress gave tickets to merely eight. This year, Congress fielded fifteen women candidates. 

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

After Congress’ newly elected governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh failed to keep up to the tall promises made by the party regarding the inclusion of women in politics, the Congress-JDS coalition government in Karnataka has reportedly joined the bandwagon.

In June this year, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had inducted only one woman MLA into his cabinet. On 22nd December, eight Congress legislators were added to the Karnataka cabinet. All men.

Currently, there are only nine women lawmakers in the assembly, representing a negligible 4% representation for the entire population of women in the state.

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In the 2013 elections, there were 175 women candidates out of a total of 2,945 candidates. out of which the Congress gave tickets to merely eight. This year, Congress fielded fifteen women candidates.

Which is ironical, considering Congress President Rahul Gandhi has been showcasing his party to be the strongest advocate of women’s right by talking about reservation for women in politics, while his party fails to provide adequate representation to women in states where the party has been in power.

Envisioning to draw the women vote bank in the Congress’ favour, during the upcoming 2019 elections, Rahul Gandhi had earlier this month, directed the state governments of Congress and its allies to pass a resolution to reserve one-third of its seats in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies for women.

But contrary to these big claims, the composition of the cabinets in the recently won three states exposes the shallowness of the promises of women empowerment made by the party. In Chhattisgarh cabinet, there is only one woman legislator out of a total of 12 legislators. Similarly, Rajasthan cabinet is no better with one woman out of 23 as compared to 4 women legislators in the Vasundhara Raje government. There are 2 women in the 28-member Madya Pradesh cabinet led by Kamalnath who is facing allegations of involvement in the 1984 riots.

Now with reports that Karnataka, where the Congress is in power along with JDS, has only one woman representative in the state cabinet, the hypocrisy lies further exposed.

Women’s Reservation Bill

The history of the Women’s Reservations Bill itself is very complicated. In 2010, the Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha after the BJP voted in favour of the bill along with the Congress and the Left. However, in 2014, the Women’s Reservation Bill, which promised 33% representation for women in Parliament and Assemblies, lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.

Somehow, over the last four years, ever since Modi has been in power the Congress’ theatrics surrounding reservation for women has picked up the pace.

But Congress’ negative response to BJP’s proposal seeking Congress’ support for the passage of three bills related to women empowerment ahead of the monsoon session in 2018, itself speaks volume of the party’s intentions and the dramatization the Congress indulges in, merely to attract voters.

From women empowerment rhetorics to the ‘soft Hindutva’ approach. From Rahul’s temple run to the ‘Janeu Dhaari Hindu narrative‘. From his Kailash Mansarovar yatra to project himself as a Shiv Bhakt. From playing the Lingayat card to Modi bashment… the Congress’ list of showmanship seems to be ceaseless.

But sadly like the lifespan of these narratives are very small and has fizzled off before time, the Women reservation narrative which has been Rahul’s latest farce will soon die its natural death.

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