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This lottery prevents MPs from nurturing constituencies, and the electorate from rewarding or punishing their MP. Besides, men who are forced to vacate their constituency when it becomes a woman’s seat for one election would use their women relatives as placeholders. Women MPs would have to flit from one reserved constituency to another, rootless and vulnerable.
And they will be limited to fighting against other women — ushering in the age of purdah in politics. It would limit the voter’s democratic choices, instead of increasing them.
Besides, a “quotawali” could further hinder the acceptance of women as equal to men, and their legitimacy as MPs. We have always had outstanding women leaders and ministers, and this devaluing of women MPs would be a great pity.
The reason we don’t have enough women in Parliament is because political parties don’t give enough tickets to women — and often allot them weak constituencies to lose from.
Meanwhile, retired chief justice of the Delhi High Court and chairperson of the Prime Minister’s High Level Committee on the Status of Muslims repeats that the easy way out of the impasse is to increase the membership of legislatures:
If there is agreement on the double-member seat formula, the identification of seats can be done immediately. All that needs be done is to identify the most populated constituencies and have them declared as such (this will also mean no haggling and a rule-of-thumb quick measure). Women could be elected from each of these constituencies. I feel women activists should seriously opt for double-member constituencies if they want representation or face another decade of useless bravado, false promises and mutual mud-slinging. Frankly, I see no logic as to why women’s organisations should object to such a course — the more they delay, the more the danger of the Sharad Yadav kind of perverse logic spreading.