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Congress to give 40% of tickets to women in Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, says Priyanka Gandhi

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addresses a press conference at the party office in Lucknow on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday announced that 40% of the candidates fielded by the party for the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls would be women. However, she was non-committal on whether she would contest.

“I have not taken this decision yet. There is still some time for the election. I will think about this and take a decision if I will contest,” Ms. Vadra told reporters at a press conference in the State capital.

She was also yet to decide if the Congress would field a Chief Minister face ahead of the polls.

Ms. Vadra said the decision to provide 40% of the party ticket to women was to provide them better representation in State politics. The Uttar Pradesh Assembly has 403 seats.

Also read: Analysis | Priyanka on the front foot in U.P.

She lamented that women were not emerging as a united force as they were also being divided into castes and religions.

If women wanted to pull the country out from “politics of casteism and religion” and take it towards politics of development and representation, they would have to step forward, the Congress leader said.

While Ms. Vadra’s move could be seen as a step to woo women voters cutting across sections, it is bound to encounter questions on representation of various communities in a State where caste dynamics dictate politics.

Asked by a reporter if the selection of women candidates would be on the basis of caste, Ms. Vadra said ticket would be distributed to the women on “merit”. This would be determined by the work of the candidate and how much the people in her Assembly constituency recognised her, she added.

Also read: Priyanka Gandhi will be face of Congress election campaign in U.P., says P.L. Punia

Ms. Vadra was also asked if the Congress would replicate a similar formula in Punjab, where it is in power, which also goes to the polls in a few months. She responded by saying that since she was in-charge of U.P., she had taken a decision regarding this particular State but would be glad if it served as an example for other States.

The Congress’ announcement drew sharp criticism from other parties.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati dismissed it as “election drama”.

When the Congress is in power and enjoys ache din (good days), it does not remember Dalits, OBC and women but when its “bure din (bad days) refuse to go away,” it remembers women in U.P. just like it is wooing Dalits in Punjab, Ms Mayawati said.

If the Congress’s concern for women was so honest, then why did its government at the Centre not bring in a law to provide 33% reservation in Parliament and State Assemblies, the BSP supremo asked.

Spokesperson for the BJP in U.P. Rakesh Tripathi said Ms. Vadra’s announcement was not for respect of women but for “adjustment” of some families.

Referring to Supriya Shrinate and Aradhana Misra, two Congress leaders who flanked Ms. Vadra during the press conference, Mr. Tripathi said they represented dynasty politics. Ms. Shrinate is the daughter of a former MP Harsh Vardhan while Ms. Mishra, herself an MLA, is the daughter of senior Congress leader Pramod Tiwari.

Mr. Tripathi said people would not connect with Ms. Vadra as the party provided representation to women on the basis of their families.

“The women in U.P. are with the BJP,” he said, as he listed the BJP government’s schemes for the welfare of women.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 5:17:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/congress-to-give-40-of-tickets-to-women-in-uttar-pradesh-assembly-polls-says-priyanka-gandhi/article37072048.ece

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