The BJP sprang a surprise when it dropped Pradesh Mahila Morcha president Ritu Khanduri from the party’s first list of candidates for Uttarakhand assembly polls but gave a ticket to her former Congress counterpart Sarita Arya who had defected to the saffron party recently. Khanduri, who is also the sitting MLA from Yamkeshwar, was conspicuously missing from the party’s first list of 59 candidates announced earlier this week. Renu Bisht was fielded from the seat instead of Khanduri.

However, former Pradesh Mahila Congress president Arya, who had quit her party just a couple of days before the list was announced, got a ticket from Nainital-the seat she wanted to contest from. The decision came as a surprise for many as apart from being a sitting MLA and an office bearer, Khanduri, who is the daughter of BJP veteran and former chief minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri, was denied what a Congress defector was given. Hurt by the decision, women party workers led by Pradesh BJP Mahila Morcha general secretary Anu Kakkar met organisational general secretary of the state unit of the BJP Ajey Kumar and requested him to reconsider the decision.

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When asked about this, Khanduri said the BJP has given tickets to six women candidates and she hopes to see her name in the party’s second list. Khanduri said electoral politics is a male dominated society but the problem is not unique to India and exists everywhere in the world. It is not only in politics but in different fields where despite being as capable as men, women have to work harder, shesaid. “We Are Fighting for our rights. The situation has improved a little over the last few years. It will improve further in the future,” Khanduri said. The women folk, who played a leading role in the movement that led to the creation of Uttarakhand, are always ignored when it comes to giving them adequate representation in electoral politics, she said. The BJP in its first list of 59 candidates has given tickets to six women which is 10 percent of the total number of candidates. Three present women MLAs did not feature in the first list.

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