Media Release: Shakti -“Political Power To Women”
Shakti – Call Women MLAs All India Campaign
Jan 21st Monday 7 PM – 9.30 PM
Women MLAs Across India Want Their Parties to Give Upto
50% MP Tickets to Women
Shakti – “Political Power to Women” nationwide “Call Women MLAs” campaign on 21st January 2019, 7 pm – 9.30 pm reaching out simultaneously to 340 women MLAs across India, a historic first as a nationwide outreach to elected representatives.
This India-wide unique campaign had volunteers, both women and men from Shakti, various individual volunteers and groups across the country reach out to elected Members of Lesgislative Assemblies of ALL states. Callers asked the women MLAs if they wanted more female Members of Parliament and would request their parties to give more tickets to women candidates this Lok Sabha elections? Male MLAs were not called.
70 years after a democratic republic, with a meagre ~11% women only in Parliament, least represented even when amounting to 50% of the population. This campaign was run to put pressure on all parties through their own women leaders to proportionally increase the considerations for women in distributing Lok Sabha tickets.
Over 500 callers including farmers, women in corporations, students, women in IT, social services workers in child trafficking, women in media, doctors, trainers, researchers, civil society activists etc. participated in the campaign. This consisted of individual inspired volunteers and many groups across India.
A list of state-wise women MLA contacts and sample call scripts in various languages from the website: politicalshakti-india.org, was provided for the callers to engage in dialling women MLAs for 2.5 hours.
Women MLAs from Jammu & Kashmir through Tamil Nadu and Sikkim to Punjab were reached, spread across 22 of the 29 states.
In the the short span of 2.5 hours, the Shakti – Call Women MLAs campaign called 339 women MLAs, of which 109 MLAs answered. 101 of the 109 MLAs clearly said they believe that many more women candidates should be given MP tickets for this Lok Sabha election by their own parties. Most promised to raise it with their party leaders. More numbers are still flowing in from volunteer callers across the country. Many women MLAs believed that 50% candidates should be women in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Many were openly appreciative of Shakti’s campaign and mentioned that women themsleves do not demand tickets and that needs to change. Some mentioned that while they support it, it is up to their parties to take the final call. Many MLAs were called by multiple callers; 230 women MLAs did not pick up the phone or were not reachable. A few women MLAs had the courtesy to call back when they missed the call, and some had lengthy conversations. The list of supporting MLAs is attached.
Tara Krishnaswamy, the co-founder of Shakti on the success of the campaign said, “These women are leaders in their respective parties and their emphatic support for upto 50% women as MP candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha is a loud signal to their own parties that they are simply betraying women party workers & eligible women leaders. This is a landmark India wide effort for women’s political rights with a simultaneous call out to 109 female elected representatives within just 2.5 hours. These 101 women MLAs represent voices of a whopping 30+crore voters of India saying India needs many more women in Parliament (3 lakhs voters per assembly constituency.) This includes MLAs from 20 major political parties, including regional and national parties. Many women MLAs said that eligible femae candidates are denied ticktes even to tune of 2 of every 10 seats contested! We, at Shakti, hope that the 101 MLAs will discuss this with their party leadership and convey that the public sentiment is vociferously for more women MPs. Shakyi will continue to ramp up the campaign for women’s political representation until political justice is done.”
Jothilakshmi, Shakti co-ordinator in Tamil Nadu, and an ctivist with Voice of People said: “We are not begging for kindness from parties through these calls. We are claiming what is rightfully ours and seeking to claim seats in Parliament that are rightfullty ours. This is a great exprerince in participatory democracy.”
Ex-Chief Minsiter of Rajasthan, MLA Vasundhara Raje of the BJP conveyed all weneeded to hear, even though in a politically correct manner, “No comment. Wishing Shakti a lot of luck to accomplish what your are trying.”
D(U) MLA Ranju Geeta said her party is already working on it. She heading the wing responsible for selection. She suggested to make a group of all women MLA over Whatspp or Facebook so they can collaborate for women’s representatoon!
Aparna Sengupta, Jharkhand ML from AIFB said, “Women are equals with men in so many ways and deserve equal representation in the Parliament. I will surely raise it.”
MLA Aseia Naqash of PDP, Jammau & Kashir , not only agreed with demanding 50% MP tickets for women, she was very interested to know about Shakti initiative.
Independent MLA Bebi Kumari from Bihar said she has protested in the House demanding 50% representation for women and will do it for parties to give 50% Lok Sabha tickets to women too!”
Shakti is a non partisan inclusive platform of women across who have joined hands, regardless of region, caste, creed, ideology and setting aside our differences with single minded objective to get more women elected as MLAs and MPs. Shakti calls upon all men and women that believe in fair representation in politics to join us on bit.ly/shakti-india
Contact: Tara Krishnaswamy
Number: +91 9341941945
We request you to kindly cover this campaign. Thank you for your support!
List of states where women MLAs were reached: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, J&K, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal
Attached is a list of women MLAs who said YES parties giving upto 50% MP ticktes to women for this Lok Sabha election.
Pubisher of Evescape & Political Activist.
Author & Activist, Co-founder Citizens For Bengaluru
The Shakti Team
- Ammu Joseph – NWMI, Independent Journalist
- Dhanya Rajendran – Co-founder & Editor-In-Chief, The News Minute
- Vidya Subrahmaniam, Sr Fellow, The Hindu Centre for Public Policy
- Nisha Agarwal, ex-CEO Oxfam
- Nisha Susan, Partner Grist Media/Ladies Finger
- Cynthia Stephen, Writer, independent Researcher and Journalist
- Jyoti Raj, Co-founder CERI
- Padmaja Shaw, Retd Prof of Journalism, Osmania University
- Swarna Rajagopalan, Political Analyst & Social Entrepreneur
- Flavia Agnes, Women’s Rights Lawyer
- Bhanupriya Rao, Founder genderandpolitics.org, Independent Researcher & Writer