Friday, May 27, 2022
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Uttarakhand Election 2022: Why Congress Has Failed Women Candidates

In a stark contrast to its erstwhile promises, the Congress has failed the women hopefuls in the state while it has taken an entirely different stance in Uttar Pradesh.

Uttarakhand Election 2022: Why Congress Has Failed Women Candidates
Congress's flag. (Representative image) PTI

The failure of the Congress to meet the tall promises it often makes surfaced again when the party cancelled the ticket to a woman candidate in Lal Kuan constituency of Uttarakhand following a revolt by senior leaders, prompting her to question the party's stand against women. 

Among the contenders for the constituency in Nainital district were Sandhya Dalakoti, former minister Harish Chandra Durgapal (84) and senior leader Harendra Bora. When Dalakoti was given the ticket, Durgapal’s supporters turned angry and raised slogans against her. When she reached his home on Tuesday to meet him and seek his blessings, they closed the door and didn’t let her go inside. She sat on a protest outside his home.  “I came here to seek the blessings of the veteran leader, but his supporters closed the door. What is my fault? Yah matrishakti ka apmaan hai (This is an insult to womanhood),” she said at the protest site.  Her supporters even said that it was shameful for an 84-year-old leader to block the path of a much younger woman.
Speaking to Outlook on Wednesday about Durgapal's revolt, Dalakoti said: “Each leader has their supporters. His supporters had turned angry. The entire party is working together. I am hopeful that former minister Harish Durgapal ji and Harendra Bora ji will help us.”

However, late on Wednesday night, the Congress issued a revised list in which Dalakoti's ticket was cancelled and given to former Chief Minister Harish Rawat, who was earlier contesting from Ramnagar. 

It’s in stark contrast to the promises for women Congress has made in Uttar Pradesh, including 40 per cent tickets to women candidates, 40 per cent reservation in government jobs, 25 per cent of police posts, special quota in male-centric professions and Rs 1000 monthly pension to elderly women. This is not the only instance when Congress has failed to implement its tall promises. Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi often targets the central government by saying “Ambani-Adani ki sarkaar”, but his government in Rajasthan has been asking another Congress-ruled state of Chhattisgarh to ensure immediate production in coal mines whose mine development operator is Adani Enterprises Limited. Similarly, this is not the first instance of Durgapal revolting against his party. In 2012, he contested and won as an Independent after Congress gave the ticket to Harendra Bora. Subsequently, chief minister Harish Rawat inducted him into his cabinet. 

The Uttarakhand election has always been between the two big parties Congress and BJP, as smaller parties like the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, both of which hold considerable strength in the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, have not been able to make inroads into the state’s polity dominated by the upper caste politics of Brahmins and Thakurs. In the 2017 elections, the CM Harish Rawat suffered a massive defeat after a large number of senior leaders had defected from the Congress and joined the BJP. With several of those leaders including former heavyweight ministers Harak Singh Rawat and Yashpal Arya coming back to the Congress, the party's chances seem a little more bright than in any other state this election. The Congress has already given a ticket to Harak Singh’s daughter-in-law Anukriti Gusain Rawat (27), former Miss Asia Pacific, from the prestigious seat of Lansdowne. 

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