Wannabe councillors 272, agenda one: safety of women.
The brutal gang rape in Delhi on December 16 last year, which earned international opprobrium, has given women hoping to contest the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) elections a powerful platform to garner support.
With 26 of the total 55 wards reserved for the fair sex this year, the number of female aspirants from each has increased. Leading the vote game is Ward No. 54 in Hatia, where 16 women have filed their nominations for the post of councillor. Wards 9 and 22 are on its heels with 14 and 13 candidates, respectively. Since the contest will understandably be close, the contenders are heavily banking on their public relation skills built on the promise of gender safety.
Geeta Kujur, councillor of Ward No. 34 (Sukhdeonagar, Hehal) who is hoping for a second run, said her priority was to purge fear from women’s psyche. “I have identified slums and underdeveloped areas that need immediate attention in terms of water, power sanitation and cleanliness. These are dens of eve-teasers. I will focus on development of these pockets,” said Geeta.
If her way to beat tease torment is street electrification, Ward 38 councillor Savita Kujur, covering Dibdih in Doranda, hopes to economically empower women and help them fight back.
Madhumala Singh from Ward No. 13 (Kantatoli area) said the condition of roads and dearth of basic amenities had forced her to contest the election. “Empowering women will be my priority. I will float mohalla committees to solve teething problems — be it related to women, water or electricity. If we women unite, crime against us will take a beating,” the young contestant echoed Savita.
Jyoti Gupta, contestant from Ward 26 covering a part of Hindpiri, said her sole objective of being in the fray was to unite women. “In our locality, there are three problems — overflowing drains, garbage and domestic violence. I will start from the last. My priority will be to ensure safety of women even at home. I will promote education for girls and provide them with basic amenities,” she said.