No woman candidate so far in J&K
25 August 2002
The Times of India
M SALEEM PANDIT
SRINAGAR\BARAMULLA: Despite tall claims about giving adequate representation to women, not even a single woman candidate has been fielded by any political party from the 26 constituencies in Baramulla, Kupwara, Rajouri, Poonch and Leh districts for the first phase of polls. Sources in the National Conference (NC) said the lone woman minister in the state government, Sakina Itoo, would be retained from Noorabad constituency in Anantnag district. But Shameem Firdous, provincial president, NC women’s wing, had been removed from the list of nominees for the second phase. Firdous, who was tipped as the party candidate from Habbakadal constituency, had been forced to give way to the son of former law minister P L Handoo, said NC activist Mohammad Altaf. At present, there are just three women in the 87-member assembly. Chief minister Farooq Abdullah had promised maximum representation to women in the polls. But the promise hasn’t been kept so far. Meanwhile, authorities have classified 227 polling stations in and around Baramulla as ‘‘hyper-sensitive’’ and 525 others as ‘‘sensitive’’.