In A First, Half Of This Tamil Nadu Party’s Contestants Are Women

In a first of its kind, Tamil nationalist Senthamilan Seeman’s fledgling party Naam Thamizhar Katchi or NTK has allotted 50 per cent seats for women for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu, India.

The party has fielded 20 women for the 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. All are graduates, some with masters and research qualification. In South Chennai, comprising the IT Corridor, NTK has nominated AJ Sherwin, an M Phil who would test waters against DMK’s Sumathi alias Tamilachi Thangapandian, AIADMK’s Dr Vishnuvaradhan among others. V Chandrapriya with an MCA would take on Karti Chidamabram and H Raja. In North Chennai, P Kaliyammal, an MBA, takes on MNM’s Mourya and DMK’s Kalanidhi Veerasami. In Pollachi, the party has put up A Sanuja, an M Phil, and R Rukmani in Dharmapuri to take on PMK leader Anbumani. S Manimekalai, an engineer, would lock horns with former Telecom Minister A Raja in the Nilgiris.

NTK chief Senthamilan Seeman, who’s known for his pro Tamil stand in the Lankan Tamils issue, has a huge following among tech savvy youngsters. He’s a YouTube star, thanks to his fiery speeches that strike a chord with the youth. However, in electoral politics, he’s yet to taste success.

On his party giving equal representation to women, Mr Seeman told NDTV, “This is towards gender justice. As Mahatma Gandhi said, we are being the change we want to see. A country that doesn’t honour women would not prosper. If other parties would follow this it’s a victory for us.”

AIADMK allies PMK, DMDK which contest in seven and four seats respectively, have not fielded even a single woman in the seven seats they fight for. Its smaller allies PT, BJP, TMC fighting in one each have no women candidates. The other ally BJP has given ticket to one woman, it’s state President Dr Tamilisai among its five candidates.

The ruling AIADMK has allotted just one seat for a woman among its 20 slots. TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK has fielded three women.

DMK has nominated only two women among its 20 seats. MK Stalin said “We have followed the same formula adopted by our late leader Kalaignar (Karunanidhi).”

DMK allies VCK, CPI and CPM which fight in two seats each too have given no seats for women; nor has MDMK, IUML and IJK which fight in one seat each.

Among the candidates for the assembly bypolls, the ruling AIADMK has put up two women against none by the DMK.

Actor Kamal Hassan’s MNM has fielded only two women for Lok Sabha polls.

Commenting on this issue, Madhumitha Vijayakumar, a writer, said, “Parties that lobbied for the Women’s Reservation Bill are able to allot only a maximum of 10% of the seats to women. Even when an issue can be addressed at their level leaders chose not to do it and are trying to justify their actions. So much for practice what you preach”.

Recently, BJD Chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Bannrjee made huge strides towards gender parity announcing 33 and 41 percent seats respectively for women. BJD has allotted seven out of 21 seats for women and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool 17 out of 42 seats.

DMK lawmaker and Lok Sabha polls candidate MK Kanimozhi feels enactment of women’s reservation bill alone would ensure allotment of 33 per cent tickets to women. She told NDTV, “Even SCs and STs aren’t able to contest in general constituencies. That’s the reality. While more women ought to come to leadership and decision making positions it’s difficult and only a law could ensure.”

Source : NDTV

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