Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister-designate of Delhi, who a few days ago asked the women to consult men of the house before voting, has given cabinet berths to not a single female legislator. Among the eight women legislators elected in Delhi legislative assembly on Aam Aadmi Party seats, no one could make it to Kejriwal’s cabinet.
वोट डालने ज़रूर जाइये
सभी महिलाओं से ख़ास अपील – जैसे आप घर की ज़िम्मेदारी उठाती हैं, वैसे ही मुल्क और दिल्ली की ज़िम्मेदारी भी आपके कंधों पर है। आप सभी महिलायें वोट डालने ज़रूर जायें और अपने घर के पुरुषों को भी ले जायें। पुरुषों से चर्चा ज़रूर करें कि किसे वोट देना सही रहेगा
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 8, 2020
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) February 8, 2020
Even the star candidates like Atishi Marlena, who won from kalkaji seat with 11,390 votes, and is credited by the party to have improved public education in Delhi, did not get the Education ministry.
The party did not include a woman in the cabinet cabinet despite the fact female voters voted overwhelmingly for the reelection of Kejriwal. As per a report by The Indian Express, which was published on the data of Lokniti-CSDS, 60 per cent women voted for AAP compared to 49 per cent men. As per the report, “So remarkable is the gender gap this time that it cuts across nearly all castes and communities, classes and age groups.”
The populist schemes of Kejriwal, like free ride to women in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses, free water and electricity, and quality public education has been extremely popular among the female voters.
Congress bagged just 3 per cent of the female vote while BJP got 35 per cent. AAP got 60 per cent of women voters, 25 per cent more than that of BJP and 11 per cent more than that of men. There was just 6 per cent gap in Mens’ votes bagged by BJP and AAP, and therefore, female voters played most decisive role in the victory of AAP.
But, Kejriwal wants to subjugate the women through freebies, not empower them. Commenting on Kejriwal’s anti-women policies and his decision to not give them space to females in the cabinet, SheThePeople.tv, a feminist media outlet wrote, “Even his (Kejriwal’s) policies including the free ride for women in Delhi buses, CCTV installation and equipping buses with marshals, etc. have been criticized across the board for dealing with the issue of women’s safety from the point of surveillance, and not focussing on sensitizing men into not committing crimes against women.”
AAP government and its leaders have a history of having anti-women policies. Somnath Bharti, who has contested the Delhi Assembly polls from Delhi’s Malviya Nagar, was accused of domestic violence by his wife in the year 2015, though she later withdrew the case and the proceedings against him were quashed by the Delhi High Court.
AAP had come to power in Delhi in 2015 and only months into its tenure, its antipathy towards women was for everyone to see. Amandeep Kaur, an AAP leader at the time from Punjab had raised hue and cry over alleged sexual harassment from AAP workers. The party had however dismissed her serious allegations rather casually on the basis of “internal investigations”.
In 2017 again, three AAP MLAs, one from Tilak Nagar constituency, Jarnail Singh and two frequent troublemakers- Somnath Bharti and Amanatullah Khan faced a complaint, wherein a woman alleged them of manhandling and abusing her in the Assembly premises.
In 2017, an AAP legislator, Dinesh Mohaniya was held on molestation charges. Instead of expressing solidarity with the victim, the AAP supremo had raised the “Emergency” bogey.
But Kejriwal’s real insensitivity towards the issue came to surface in the unfortunate case of suicide by an AAP worker. Prior to her suicide, the AAP worker had revealed that she had approached the AAP president for action against AAP leader, Ramesh Bharadwaj whom she had accused of sexual harassment. But according to her, Kejriwal had insisted that she should strike a compromise with the AAP leader who had allegedly attempted to sexually assault her.
A number of women have left the party. In 2014 itself, within months of the party’s inception, founder member, Madhu Bhaduri had dissociated herself from the party saying, “I have removed myself from the party. The party does not treat women as human beings.”
The party has always enjoyed a certain level of goodwill with the mainstream, Lutyens’ dominated elitist media. This is why such cases never occupied the spotlight. The AAP was never questioned; leave alone the question of outrage over the anti-women attitude of the party.