Bangalore has a spanking new set of councillors. We citizens have cast our votes and are hoping, it will pay at least this time. What is interesting is that we have 74 women councillors compared to the 17 in the previous election. Will that make a difference? Of the 74 seats 67 come from reserved constituencies.
In the light of the hoopla around Women’s Reservation Bill in the Parliament, Bangalore’s future administration might become the test case. It is true that most women candidates fielded were political novices and wives or relatives of politicians or political aspirants. And all along, media reports have been saying that these women are not thinking for themselves; that they rely on their husbands to do the thinking.
Some of the candidates didn’t help the matter by saying things like "I am here to fulfill my husband’s dreams" or "I will take my husband’s advice before taking any decision post elections." Just for the sake of argument let’s turn the tables. Let’s say a male candidate was saying similar things and his wife accompanied him everywhere. Would the reports say he’s not a thinking man? And that his wife is the brain behind it all? Perhaps not. This apart, both during the campaign and post elections some women candidates have been saying the right things on civic issues. "I am a woman. I can understand what the urban woman’s problems are and I will solve it." They have not failed to bring up the issue of water, sanitation and power supply, the aching nerve of every woman in the city.
Will these women councillors live up to their promise, irrespective of their political legacy or the lack of it? "Women are puppets in the hands of their men" is an age old argument about women in politics – be it in gram panchayaths, city councils or the parliament. Like a true journalist I can only say "We’ll have to wait and watch". What are your thoughts?⊕