Swaraj India, which broke away from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in 2015, paraded its 'strong, educated and independent' women candidates on Monday, saying they will carry the party to victory in the April 23 MCD elections.
The party-formed by lawyer-activists Avik Saha, Ajit Jha, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan-has fielded 17 women in general wards. Other than this, 107 ladies are fighting in the wards reserved for females after January's delimitation exercise.
Over all, Swaraj India has 211 candidates, of the total 272 MCD wards, in the fray. Speaking on gender sensitisation in Indian politics, national president Yogendra Yadav, said, "I learnt a slogan in university 'Nari ke sehbhag bina har badlav adhoora hai' (Without women's participation, every change is incomplete)."
"Unfortunately, all political parties have made a mockery of women's reservation which was obtained after so much struggle and difficulty. The official candidates' list of Congress actually mentions women ticket holders as the 'wife of so and so' or 'daughter-in-law of so and so,' which is so demeaning."
ABOUT THE BRIGADE
Senior party member from Tamil Nadu, Christina Samy, added, "Our priority while selecting women candidates, therefore, was very clear, 'No shadow candidates.' We invited applications from only those who could contest without parallel photographs or their sasurjis (fathers-in-law) or without suffixing their husbands' name to their own." "Fortunately, we found many such women in the urban pockets, slums and villages.
The youngest, Kajal Sharma, contesting from Rani Bagh ward in north Delhi and a pass out from Daulat Ram College, is only 21," she informed. Kajal and her female colleagues at the press meet spoke about themselves. She said, "Every change begins from a small little step. I want to improve Delhi and make it a more liveable place. So I have started with my own family and residence ward." Swaraj India's other woman candidate, no less than a star in her own right, is Suvarna Raj, the international para-athlete. Wheelchair-bound Suvarna is contesting from Babarpur ward number 50 E.
The lady with an indomitable spirit said, "I have eliminated the word 'cannot' from my dictionary." "As a child afflicted with polio, even my family told me that I cannot complete my education. I was home-schooled. But after crossing so many boundaries, I will make sure that no child suffers like me. I will ensure that all schools are disabled-friendly and have special teachers," she said.
Dinesh Bhatia, a triple Masters' Degree holder including one in English Literature, is contesting from the students' hub Mukherjee Nagar. She said, "My ward represents all the civic issues that you can think of. There are illegal buildings, encroachments, illegal advertisements. I have resolved to erase these and help people." Seema Jha, a B.Com and LLB degree holder and a successful businesswoman, will fight from Karampura.
She said, "I request and hope that the public scrutinises each candidate profile before voting." She is famous for participating in the auto permit movement few years back. Global theatre activist, Shobha Sharma, trying her luck from Mayur Vihar, said she will work to reduce child sexual abuse. Sarvesh Verma and Upasna Sehrawat, contesting from Paharganj and Palam wards respectively, were also present.