After winning a huge mandate in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal was again sworn in yesterday as Chief Minister, along with his Cabinet. Now, as Chief Minister, it is indeed Kejriwal’s prerogative to decide who his ministers should be. But isn’t it surprising, if not outright disappointing that in the year 2020, India’s national capital will not have a single female minister? For the second time in a row, that is.
Indeed, it would be interesting to know if there are any other state governments across India where the ministry does not have a single female member! At the Central level, PM Modi has had women holding portfolios of Finance, Defense and External Affairs at various points of time. Those are three of the top four positions in the Cabinet.
For a moment, let us suppose that Arvind Kejriwal does not believe in any form of tokenism or pandering to any group while allocating ministerial berths. I’m sure Imran Hussein has become a minister in Delhi government purely because of his outstanding administrative capabilities. That still leaves the question: why is AAP unable to create a party structure through which capable women can rise to power?
More specifically, one has to ask: what about Atishi Marlena? Why was she not included as a minister?
The AAP campaign was built around claims of some kind of great education revolution in Delhi, for which the credit was systematically given to Atishi Marlena. I do not know whether these claims were true. But AAP certainly did make those claims. And the party as well as its media cheerleaders have since claimed that the Delhi election verdict validates these claims of education revolution in the city.
And yet, Atishi Marlena was not made a minister. Why?
So did AAP lie during the campaign about the achievements of Atishi Marlena in the field of education?
Or is it that Kejriwal is threatened by women in power?
Which one is it? Or is it both? Surely, the people of Delhi and the rest of the country deserve to know the answer.
Speaking of Kejriwal’s attitude towards women, there is one more question: Who is Soni?
I did not come up with that question. It was Kejriwal himself who said this, when confronted by a question from a mediaperson.
Who is Soni? Kejriwal says he doesn’t know. And presumably does not care.
Now that is extremely unfortunate. Because Soni was an AAP worker who ended her life, alleging sexual harassment from powerful members within her own party. Most distressingly, Soni said she had approached Kejriwal herself regarding her plight, to which he had responded by asking her to “compromise.” Soni’s words are still publicly available on video.
But it appears that Soni’s death does not weigh on Kejriwal’s conscience. He says he doesn’t even remember her name.
In fact, AAP MLA Sharad Chauhan was even arrested in connection to the matter. But Kejriwal just can’t remember who Soni is. A party with a handful of MLAs in one single city and Kejriwal cannot remember what is happening with who!
Perhaps the Chief Minister of Delhi simply does not take women very seriously. This time, just before the election, Kejriwal asked women voters to consult with male members of their families, before voting. This is Delhi in 2020. Simply wow.
Just as interesting as these questions themselves is who is not asking them. Those would be the feminists, who can’t be bothered to ask Kejriwal any tough questions. About why his Cabinet has zero women. About why women cannot rise in his party structure.
The explanation is fairly simple. The feminist movement in India (like in many places around the world) has been turned into a purely partisan tool in the hands of the left. They care little about the dignity or empowerment of women. Because their target is Narendra Modi.
The partisan silence of feminists fits into an even larger pattern of the left hijacking genuine and much needed social movements for the benefit of weaker sections. Be it movements for the rights of women, homosexuals, Dalits or tribals.
Those who claim to care the most for rights of tribals are also the most silent when 18 year old Trilochan Mahato is hanged publicly in Bengal for daring to be a BJP worker.
Those who say they care about problems of caste privilege have somehow never noticed how one single upper caste family has controlled the Congress Party and run the country for over fifty years. It is the one privilege they cannot see. Even when the party boasts openly about the “janeudhari” status of their leader.
We all remember the Delhi pride parade where so called “activists” were raising slogans against the abrogation of Article 370! This, despite the fact that Article 370 empowered the Jammu and Kashmir government to criminalize homosexuality, ignoring the Supreme Court verdict that applied to every other part of India.
The left does not care about the rights and dignity of women, homosexuals, tribals or Dalits. They only care about fighting Narendra Modi. Instead of fighting social evils, they have weaponized these issues to mobilize opinion against PM Modi, who is somehow held responsible for all these problems, despite being only in his sixth year of rule. You never see these activists pose a single question to the party that ran India for sixty years.
What Kejriwal is really saying is that women are neither capable of buying bus tickets nor becoming ministers. That women have no agency. A patronizing, regressive attitude that belongs in the dark ages. Certainly not in India’s capital city in the 21st century.