The political landscape in Jharkhand is set to undergo a significant transformation with the passage of the Women Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha. This landmark legislation has underscored the vital role of women in the state’s politics, resulting in the reservation of 27 seats for women in the State Assembly. Currently, there is a notable shortage of women’s representation in the political arena, even among the major political parties.
This change will have a profound impact on women’s participation and inclusivity across various levels of governance. With 27 seats reserved for women in the State Assembly, there will be an increased focus on their active involvement in decision-making processes. Presently, there are only 12 women legislators in the State Assembly, representing various political parties out of a total of 82 legislators (including one nominated member).
Mukti Morcha and Congress Lead in Women MLAs
In the realm of women legislators, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress coalition holds a prominent position. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha boasts four women legislators, while the Congress party has an equal number of women representatives. In the 2019 Legislative Assembly elections, 127 women candidates contested, resulting in the election of 10 women into the Assembly. Subsequent by-elections further increased the tally to the current 12 women legislators.
Reserving 5 Lok Sabha Seats for Women
Apart from the State Assembly, Jharkhand’s representation of women in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will also increase proportionately. The state currently has 14 Lok Sabha seats, with five of them now reserved for women. Presently, Jharkhand has two women Members of Parliament, one each from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress party. Annapurna Devi, currently serving as the Union Minister of Education, represents the BJP, while Geeta Koda leads the Pradesh Congress Committee.
Boosting Representation in the Rajya Sabha
Similar gains are expected in the Rajya Sabha, where Jharkhand presently holds six seats. Mahua Majhi from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha is the only female representative from the state in the Rajya Sabha. This increase in representation across the political spectrum is anticipated to bring forth a more diverse and inclusive political landscape.
Warm Welcome from Women Legislators
The decision to reserve seats for women has been met with enthusiasm by female legislators in Jharkhand. However, questions have been raised about the prolonged delay in implementing this legislation. The BJP’s female legislators have warmly welcomed the move and expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the initiative.
Meanwhile, Deepika Pandey Singh, a Congress legislator from Mahagama, credited the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for initially considering this idea. She highlighted that it was the Congress-led government under the leadership of Narsimha Rao that first implemented this reservation at the panchayat (local government) level.
This historic decision to reserve seats for women in Jharkhand’s political arena marks a significant step towards gender equality and the active participation of women in governance. It is expected to reshape the state’s political landscape, making it more representative and inclusive for all.