Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Is this Empowerment?

In the past few days, we have been constantly hearing about the nomination of Pratibha Patil to the post of president by the UPA-Left combine. Her are some comments that are being flashed across the news channels on her “elevation” and what it means to womenfolk of the country.

Pratibha Patil: “It shows that women are respected in this country.”

“I’ll not be a rubber-stamp president.”

Congress party spokesperson, Jayanti Natarajan: “The opposition should gracefully refrain from contesting against the UPA-Left nominee.”

Sonia Gandhi: “It is a historic moment for the country.”

Shobha De: “It is an insult to women.”

DMK Chief: “From here on, it is your rule.” (To a woman journalist)

Some questions that her candidature has thrown up:

Is her gender getting unfair attention?

Were their more worthy candidates (Men and Women) for the post?

Who is Pratibha Patil?
Born in Maharashtra, she made a mark in state politics by rising from humble beginnings. She has served as a minister in the state cabinet; has been deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha and more importantly has maintained a low profile and has a clean, non-controversial public image. One thing that clearly went in her favor is her loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family.

This shrewd political move on the part of the congress largely due to the absence of consensus on other candidates has been turned into an attempt on the part of the Government towards empowering women. If it is really what it is being made out by the Government, the centre should have considered only the names of women from the beginning. Instead, it went about trying to build consensus on Shivraj Patil, Karan Singh and Shinde and only when these attempts failed, it found the Rajasthan Governor to be the perfect choice acceptable to all parties. The flipside is that she is being judged even before she has occupied the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

By choosing a political person who has been a lawyer and who has been an efficient administrator, it has opted for the right person. But in the process, many other names that enjoy greater stature and who have been in the public eye for greater lengths of time have lost out. The reason put forward is that, one cannot try and please everybody.

Women hold critical decision—making positions in the Indian political scene with Sonia Gandhi and Mayawati being prime examples. Yet, there are no strong women ministers in the center and in UP. And ironically, the Government expects the people to be fooled by this elevation of the Rajasthan governor to a nominal post!!! One only expects our womenfolk to see through all this and decide for themselves.

No comments: