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Delhi polls: Women candidates promise the moon on security
Sunday February 1, 2015 9:47 PM, Sreeparna Chakrabarty, IANS

With women's security being such a big issue in the capital, women candidates in the Feb 7 Delhi assembly polls are promising the moon as far as women's security is concerned. CCTV cameras and marshals in public transport, gender sensitization training for men and even random calls to drivers of cabs with female passengers to check on their safety are just some of the promises they are making to woo the voters.

Rajni Abbi
[Former Delhi Mayor and candidate from the Timarpur assembly constituency, Rajni Abby, said all laws made for women need to be properly implemented.]

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has pinned its chief ministerial candidate, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, as the best bet for improving security for women in the capital.

The national capital, which has the unflattering reputation of having one of the worst track records as far as women's security is concerned and is dubbed as the "rape capital", has only 19 women candidates - out of 673 - for the elections.

Despite being more than vocal about women related issues, the three major parties - the BJP, AAP and Congress - have fielded only eight, six and five candidates respectively. Delhi has 70 assembly seats. There are 13.3 million voters, of whom 5.9 million are women.

Congress turncoat and BJP candidate from Patel Nagar Krishna Tirath said: "Women's security is definitely a major issue. The root cause of all trouble is the declining sex-ratio and social evils like dowry."

Tirath, a former woman and child development minister in the UPA government, told IANS: "When I was a minister at the centre, then I had launched a scheme called 'saksham' for boys, which was aimed at counselling them on gender parity.

"I would propose to bring in the same scheme in Delhi. Once we address this issue, then the situation on women's security will automatically improve," she said.

Former BJP councillor and candidate from the Timarpur assembly constituency, Rajni Abby, said all laws made for women need to be properly implemented.

"Prosecution in such cases should be fast," Abby told IANS.

She said innovative measures like more CCTV cameras for the entire city would also be explored. "If so many cameras can be put up for the visit of (US) President (Barack) Obama, then why not every day for women's security?"

Abby also has innovative proposals like making mothers and sisters of rape accused apply for their bail.

Last but not the least, she said that the BJP's chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi has been in the police and has been a long-time champion of women's security.

"She is the best bet to make Delhi safer for women. This (Bedi as chief minister) sends a clear message how seriously we take this issue," she added.

As far CCTV cameras go, they seem to be the common promise of all parties.

According to Congress candidate from Greater Kailash and President Pranab Mukherjee's daughter Sharmishtha Mukherjee, very strong and concerted efforts have to be made by the state and the police for women's security.

"Delhi Police have to increase the number of personnel on public transport. CCTV cameras have to be installed in public transport and not only this, they also have to be monitored," Mukherjee told IANS.

She promised an increase in the number of home guards and more women security personnel.

"We will also run gender sensitization programmes at all levels," she added.

The first-time candidate proposed monitoring of all taxis, which are hired by women passengers. "Why can't random calls be made to the drivers and women passengers to ensure their safety," she asked.

Asked about BJP fielding Bedi for the chief minister's post, Mukherjee said: "Kiran Bedi has been involved with the women's movement, but when you elect a chief minister there are different things involved."

Kiran Walia, a Congress candidate and former health and women and child development minister in the Delhi government, said that it was her party that had introduced major schemes for women's security in the capital during its 15-year regime that ended in Dec 2013.

"The (successor) 49-day AAP government had discontinued most of them," Walia, who is contesting from the New Delhi constituency, told IANS.

The AAP's Bandana Kumari said her party has always stood for women's security, adding that if her party is voted to power, a special women's security force with 10,000 personnel would be raised.

"We will also deploy marshals in public transport to ensure the best possible security for women," Bandana Kumari, who is contesting from Shalimar Bagh, told IANS.

(Sreeparna Chakrabarty can be contacted at sreeparna.c@ians.in)




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