ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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CONGRESS PARTY-Short-Term Comfort

attempting to put more women into state assemblies and the Lok Sabha. Sharad Joshi's women's rally decrying feminists is one indication of the apprehensions of the establishment. Thus all political parties have conveniently used women's issues to garner women's votes, but have been cautious about fielding women candidates. That concern for women's development is so much rhetoric is seen by some of the sidelights of the election campaigns the snide remark of the Shiv Sena supremo's nephew about the Congress candidate in north-west Mumbai, that the Congress did not have enough ' mard' and so resorted to fielding a woman: or the lampooning of the Parvati faction of the TDP by the Chandrababu Naidu group. There is thus a large and apparently widening chasm between what is meant by concern lor women and women's issues and acknowledging women's rights. It is in this context that the demand for obtaining larger representation in parliament is a significant and radical demand. In the interim, however, consistent attention must be given to mobilising women around issues such as educational opportunities, expansion of decision-making space for women and the shelving of existing 'welfare' concessions granted by the state.

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