Many women contestants faceless in GHMC poll campaign

Proxy in politics: Women remain out of the picture despite 50% reservations in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections.  

The election vehicle is plastered in orange and green with photographs of a number of men. The only clue that the candidate in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) poll fray for Venkateshwara Colony ward is a woman is the photograph of her with her husband in ‘namaskar’ pose.

At least this woman candidate has made it to the poster. In other parts of the city, some women are not even visible though they are officially in fray.

This invisibilisation of women is not limited to one party but across the political spectrum in the city. “I went to file my nomination in Asifnagar and a couple with their supporters were there. The candidate was standing while the two chairs were occupied by her husband and a political leader,” says a woman candidate who filed her nomination from the seat.

No independent identity

In Tolichowki, the candidate’s name is given as ‘Dr Ayesha Humera w/o Dr Haroon Farhan’ and carries the photograph of only the man with the woman nowhere to be seen. The small handbill has been posted with a message: “Mohd Haroon Farhaan Sahab to be once again Tolichowki numainda corporator (sic)”.

“Mahatma bharya vochchindi (Mahatma’s wife has come),” Vithal Reddy tells his wife, minutes after the door-to-door campaign by Srilatha Korani passes by his house in Reddy Basthi, Upperpally, in the Rajendranagar ward on Monday morning.

“Someone picks up the call and helps us whenever we need something. Sometimes, she picks up the call and at other times, it her husband or other relatives. But they help us,” informs Mr. Reddy. But this sidelining of women is not going uncontested in social media.

Clamour on social media

“The candidate is Samena Yasmeen. The photograph is supposed to be of her filing her nomination papers for contesting Municipal Elections. Yet, she is nowhere in any of the photographs. Is this how women are empowered in our country? (sic),” posted Twitter user R. Natasha tagging a photograph posted by AIMIM’s Aziz Khan that showed a bunch of men with garlands filing nomination on behalf of Sameena Yasmeen who is identified as the wife of Mohammed Badruddin.

Another social media user commented about the practice by writing: “That is largely the case in municipal elections, because most seats are reserved for women so, men who are politically active ensure their wives contest. The only time you will see the woman is at the nomination office; outside that, for the next five years, it will be the man.”

Hyderabad’s mayoral post is now reserved for women for two terms and 50% wards are also reserved for women.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 10:57:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/many-women-contestants-faceless-in-ghmc-poll-campaign/article33172819.ece

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