BRS MLC K Kavitha during the protest seeking early passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)
A quick look at the composition of Telangana cabinet tells us the state is not a great example for women representation. In the 17-member council of ministers, there are only two women. Only five of the 103 MLAs, and three of the 40 MLCs are women
Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K Kavitha is at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Friday, demanding the tabling of the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament.
The Bill, which was introduced in Rajya Sabha in 2008, seeks to reserve 33% seats in Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies for women.
A quick look at the composition of Telangana cabinet tells us that the state is not a great example for women representation.
In the 17-member council of ministers, there are only two women — P Sabitha Indra Reddy, who has the education portfolio, and Satyavathi Rathod, the minister of ST Welfare, Women and Child Welfare.
Of the 103 MLAs, only five are women — Ajmeera Rekha, who represents Khanapur (ST), M Padma Devender Reddy (Medak), P Sabitha Indra Reddy (Maheswaram), Gongidi Sunitha (Alair) and Haripriya Banoth (Yellandu).
Of the 40 MLCs, only three are women. Kavitha is one of them.
The lack of representation of women in Telangana legislative bodies has been criticised time and again.
When Telangana Rashtra Samithi (now BRS) formed the government for the first time in 2018, there was no woman in the 18-member council of ministers. When it came to power again in 2018, there was no woman again in the initial cabinet. When a newly-inducted minister Jagadish Reddy was asked about the absence of women at that time, he had retorted: “They are at home.”
In a cabinet expansion later in September 2019, Sabitha and Satyavathi were inducted. This was the first time the cabinet had women ministers since its formation in 2014.
In 2019, when Kavitha, the MP from Nizamabad at the time, was asked about the lack of women in her father’s cabinet, she had said that she could not influence him to induct more women. “I am a very junior member of my party and influencing the party leader, who has vast experience, is not going to work. No party, including the TRS, will give equal space to women unless it is mandated by the Election Commission or Parliament,” she had said.
The former MP’s dharna at Jantar Mantar has come under repeated attacks by the Opposition who have pointed out the poor representation of women in Telangana politics.
Reacting to her dharna, YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP) president, YS Sharmila has lashed out: “Women representation in Telangana cabinet itself is dismal. Kavitha has no moral right to fight in Delhi against women’s representation because her father himself has not kept the word. First, Kavitha should fight for women reservation in her own state where women representation from their party is very small.”
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Nizamabad MP Dharmapuri Arvind had said: “After losing to the BJP in the 2019 general elections, and then becoming an MLC in ‘nepotism quota’, Kavitha is now emerging as a key conspirator in the Delhi liquor scam. Her sudden epiphany to fight for the Women’s Reservation Bill is just a futile attempt to divert people’s attention.”
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