Lowbrow Women Tread Political Paths In Kashmir29 April 2011
Srinagar: Women candidates have made their presence felt in the ongoing 16-phase Panchayat Polls by emerging as neck to neck competitors to their male counterparts. According to the result sheet of Kupwara district prepared by State electoral department, out of 430 Sarpanch seats, 146 have been pocketed by women including some young faces. Almost every panchayat constituency of the blocks, that went to polls on April 13 in the first phase, there are at least three women out of ten winning candidates. In Nutnoosa (A) there were 10 Sarpanch seats. Seven were bagged by male candidates and three by women. Similarly, in Trich (81), of the seven Sarpanch seats, three were won by female candidates and four by males. The results of other areas like Gudnosa, Payerpora,Zangli, Batpora, Gutlipora, Arampora, Hatmulla, Drugmulla are also on similar lines. Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats, Ali Muhammad Sagar said it was a good sign that women have emerged as a force. The women candidates, Sagar said, seem to have cashed in on the 33 per cent reservation meant for them in panchayats. “They will have to shoulder bigger responsibility and take the democracy to grass-root level,” the minister said. He said in 2001-02, panchayat elections were held partially. “It was in 1972 when elections were held in real sense so the present elections are being held after three decades,” Sagar said. Upbeat over the development, President Women’s Wing of ruling National Conference, Shameema Firdous said women have proved their mettle. “Now it is the duty of the government to recognize the performance of women folk.” Firdous said the women who have emerged victorious will have to work for justice and overall empowerment of the community. “More women candidates in the field mean less dependency on men. We will form mini-governments in the villages and resolve issues facing women on priority basis,” she said. Firdous said it was the result of hectic efforts by party workers that a good number of women have come to fore in the polls. Mahila Congress president for J&K, Indu Pawar said the development was an indication that women want to contribute towards society. “They have pledged to compete with men on all fronts and to prove their mettle. They should know that their responsibility is much bigger than their win,” she said. The State electoral department has prepared the results of two phases so far. Rising Kashmir will come up with more stories on the successful women candidates.