We often talk about the socio-economic divide, gender disparities, and the broken political system in our country but how many of us have actually done something to clean up the mess?
But, 42-year-old Shweta Reddy is different.
While talking about all these issues, she was constantly asked by peers “Why don’t you join politics?” “Why don’t you start a party?”
And that’s exactly what she did when she launched the National Women’s Party (NWP) in New Delhi in December 2018 and consequently in Mumbai recently.
Dr. Shetty practices medical science in Hyderabad and is also the founder of Telangana Mahila Samiti, an NGO that provides vocational courses to women. Apart from this she also runs orphanages and does other social work.
The first of its kind
With the sole intention of giving women a platform in politics, Shweta Reddy has launched a first of its kind, all women party in India.
“Male chauvinism of political parties is no secret. If women have a platform in politics where they don’t have to beg their male counterparts for a ticket, I think more women could join the field” said Shweta when asked about not joining hands with some other party.
Shweta has hinted at a possible “alliance” with some “northern parties” that have approached following their launch in Delhi.
The party which was registered back in 2012, was only launched in December 2018 and has a ‘women with folded hands’ as its symbol. With over 1.45 lakh members in its ranks, the party is looking to contest for 50 seats in the 2019 Madhya Pradesh elections.
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A revolution for women in India?
The NWP, described as the “party of mothers”, will strive for 50 percent reservation for women in the lower house of the parliament.
Dr. Shetty cites the women reservation bill which grants 33 percent seats in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and has been pending since 1996.
“With this initiative, the NWP plans to create an environment for the full development of women which enables them to realise their full potential and help achieve the goals of empowerment,” Shweta said at the official launch.
“This party is a historic step in our mission to ensure equal representation for women in Parliament. Our ideology is to remove gender disparity in politics and thus create equal importance for females in the patriarchal Indian society,” she added.
The party aims to launch a mobile app called “Mahila Rakshak” which would provide assistance to women in distress during emergencies since the safety of women is most important in times of increased crimes against them.
Apart from this, the party also has plans to open a Youth Parliament which would be a political school for women in every state in the country to provide academic and practical training and thus get everyone more involved in the country’s political process, according to Ms. Shetty.
Also, the party intends to focus on key areas of education, health, employment, and security where women lack. It aims at appointing diverse women policymakers so that issues regarding women are better presented in the parliament.
Some hurdles still need to be addressed
While the ambitions run high, the party is short on funds and is yet to begin any campaigning.
As a result of negligible funds, the party will be campaigning mostly on social media rather than going door-to-door or holding campaigns.
One thing which could end up biting them could be the complete focus on issues relating to women and ignoring the calls of men. Although their ideology makes complete sense and is the need of the hour, the average Indian male is less likely to vote for them.
There is a slim to no chance that the party would be able to grab hold of any seats in the upcoming elections considering their lack of marketing and with the likes of Congress and BJP as their opponents.
But, without any doubt, the party holds much promise for the future and can be the catalyst for change when it comes to women in Indian politics.
Image Credits: Google Images
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