On Sunday, the capital of India, trudged to election booths to elect their representatives for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi Elections. A total of 272 seats, spread across three divisions were up for grabs. Although local in nature, these elections carry wider national implications. As many as 71,39,994 votes were polled on April 23 and roughly 2537 candidates were in the fray for the 272 seats of the MCD. Today, the results have come out and it looks like it is the Bharatiya Janata Party which has literally swept the elections, winning 181 out of 270 seats.
For us, what makes this year’s MCD Elections really significant, is that as per the State Election Commission, 138 wards were kept for women. A total of 46 wards have also been reserved for Scheduled Castes, and of these 24 would be contested by women alone, with men having 22 to fight over. As per the ‘women first’ formula adopted in reservation of both SC and other seats, now the number of seats reserved for women in the Assembly segments – comprising four wards each – varies from one to three.
The Delhi Government had in December notified the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act 2011, paving way for trifurcation of the MCD and making the provision for 50 per cent reservation for women therein. Now in the 104 wards of the North Corporation, there are 20 SC seats of which 10 have been reserved for women and of the remaining 84 general seats, 42 have been reserved for women. In South Corporation, which would again have 104 wards, 15 seats have been reserved for SC and of these eight have been reserved for women. Of the remaining 89 general seats, 45 have been reserved for women. In the East Corporation, which is the smallest with just 64 wards, six seats have been reserved for SC women and five for SC men. Of the remaining 53 general wards, 27 have been reserved for women.
A total of 270 seats were up for grabs, and we had earlier reported that the number of female candidates nominated by the four major parties are:
Aam Aadmi Party: 124
Swaraj Abhiyan: 23
Now as the results are coming in, we see that 49 women from North Delhi, 48 from South Delhi and 27 from East Delhi have won seats in the MCD– that is out of 270 seats, 124 have been secured by women candidates. While it is still a low figure, we would like to consider this a huge victory for female leadership!
The Alliance for Women’s Reservation Bill (Bill) has been reaching out to different sections of citizens, in an attempt to gather support for their campaign to urge the Government of India to Pass this all Important Bill at the earliest. Earlier in the year, we took part in a rally organized by DMK, and also organized a press conference on this issue.
In our view, women reaching positions of power, are blocked by patriarchal mindset and double standards. We feel that women must unite to demand action on the WRB, which is the longest pending bill in the history of Independent India for the last 21 years. The global average of women in parliament is 22.40%, and India ranks 103rd place out of 140 countries, with a 12% representation of women in Parliament. The figure is even lower for State Assemblies, with 9% of female representation.
We hope with this victory, the face of Delhi Municipalities changes, and the female leadership will usher in benefits for women in Delhi!