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Will Priyanka Gandhi’s ‘40% seats for women’ plan pay off in UP?

Priyanka Gandhi to set aside 40% tickets to women candidates in the upcoming UP Assembly polls.  

The upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh could prove to be a do or die battle for the Indian National Congress. The grand old party is already in shambles with infighting turning out to be the norm in various states. Getting a hold on Uttar Pradesh could well mean that the party would get something to stay afloat in a hugely deteriorating situation.

As if in a bid to lure the women voters of the large landmass called Uttar Pradesh, Congress has decided to set aside 40 per cent seats to women candidates. The idea seems to have sprung up from Congress party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi.

Priyanka is the face of the Congress in UP. And that, the Congress party thinks that would take it a long way. But will it actually help is a riddle.

Priyanka’s plan: 40% women candidates for UP polls

As per Priyanka, the upcoming Vidhan Sabha polls in UP will see the party keep aside 40 per cent tickets to women. The UP Assembly has a total strength of 403 seats and the state is already in election mode though the polls are due only early next year.

Whether the women candidate carrot would lure the UP voters is something we will have to wait to know. Priyanka seems to be confident of a win as women are expected to wilfully throw in their weight by way of participation.

That forces us to think of the 2017 Assembly polls. The Congress had fielded 114 candidates. But among them only 11 were women. In comparison, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had 43 women in its 384 candidates list. The Samajwadi Party (SP) had fielded 33 women, while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had 19 women candidates.

It looks like Priyanka took such a decision after she had addressed women students at Allahabad University. It has already been reported that the women students had then apprised Priyanka about how the rules on campus differed for men and women. The Congress general secretary gave it a thought then and mulled over why women should be entrusted with decision-making positions.

Priyanka seen as the face of the Congress in UP

The polls are a few months away, and Priyanka wants Congress to win big. Last time around, in 2017, Congress had tied up with the SP. But the final outcome was utterly disappointing, the Congress managing only seven seats out of the 114 contested.

However, this time, it is not going to be bad, feels the party and its general secretary who is leading the race for the grand old political outfit. The party believes that Priyanka is the most popular political figure in Uttar Pradesh. And, Priyanka might be wishing that the increased share of women seats would do wonders.

 Will that happen? Only time will tell.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The New Indian Express, MSN India, PanAsiaBiz. Sanjeev can be reached at [email protected]
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