After BJP leader Shaina NC expressed dismay over lack of representation of women in electoral politics, the BJP treasurer landed in a controversy with accusations that her comments were prompted because she was not offered a ticket by the party. In a tweet on Sunday, Shaina lambasted the political class across leading parties, including the BJP for fielding fewer women candidates, but spared Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal.
A fashion designer and daughter of eminent jurist late Nana Chudasama, Shaina has often advocated for higher representation of women in Parliament and state assemblies and is a well-known face of, courtesy her frequent appearances on television debates. In an exclusive interview with Outlook, Shaina speaks about women’s representation in the candidature of Lok Sabha elections, her own made dominated governments and more. Excerpts.
What do you have to say about your tweet and the following reactions?
I would like to make it clear that it is not about me not getting a ticket at all. I was not even thinking about it. It’s long gone. And in fact, compared to Congress and NCP, my party, BJP has given tickets to more women candidates. While Congress and NCP have only given two, we have given seven. Moreover, we have women’s reservation in the organisational structure, which is why I got the treasurer’s position. It’s not about me. There are more capable women leaders than me in my party. I just want better representation of women in public life across all parties. I want women to rally for this together.
Are you trying to garner more support for the women’s reservation bill?
It’s not just about the bill. What I am saying is that the parties, all of them, should not wait for the bill to happen. If regional parties can give 41% (TMC in West Bengal) and 33% (BJD in Orissa), then why can’t national parties do it? The bill will happen but even before that the parties can start implementing it, they don’t need the bill to start appointing more women. One has to understand that opportunity alone will result in ability. Parties must understand that women are a significant vote bank and their issues need to be represented.
Do you believe that women’s issues do not get addressed in a majority male government?
Yes, I definitely think so. Right now the number of women is only 11% in Parliament and not even 9% in the state assembly. It is hard for them to raise the issues pertaining to crores of women of our country. Women representatives will definitely have the sensitivity and understanding of what women go through and what is needed to support them. But for that, they need to get opportunities starting at the party level. They need to be viewed and accepted as equal and able workers and candidates.