The Telegraph
Tuesday , April 1 , 2014
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Why LS battle’s a little unfair

At a time when woman power — say Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati or Jayalalithaa — has taken centre stage in national politics, two Lok Sabha seats of Kolhan — Jamshedpur and Singhbhum will go to polls on April 17 arguably for the first time in recent memory without “sari factor”.

In all, there is Jai Bharat Samanta Party nominee Geeta Koda, better known as Mrs Madhu Koda, and Independent candidate Snehlata Jojo among 12 for Singhbhum ST reserved seat.

There is none among 15 in fray for Jamshedpur.

This time, women candidates somehow did not curry favour with BJP, Congress and JMM. The JVM has a single woman nominee, Neelam Devi from Chatra. Among notables, AAP fielded land and displacement activist Dayamani Barla from Khunti.

“We talk of women’s representation. But, for contesting polls her ‘winnable factor’ is questioned. A male candidate enjoys the benefit of doubt,” said Deepika Pandey Singh, general secretary of National Youth Congress and in-charge of North East.Hailing from Jamshedpur, Pandey said representation of women candidates should be made compulsory in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

Abha Mahto, two-time BJP MP from Jamshedpur, when asked about the lack of women candidates, said: “May be the party did not find anyone suitable, though it has high regard for she power.”

JMM’s former MP Suman Mahto has also been sidelined.

“Gender bias is ageless but women can make good politicians,” said Lalita Sarin, former principal of Jamshedpur Public School. Principal of Kerala Samajam Model School Nandini Shukla said regretfully: “Yes, I will miss strong women candidates this time.”

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