WHY WOMEN NEED JUPITER
It takes 11 km/ sec for Earth to escape its gravitational pull. It takes Juipter 60 km/ sec to escape its gravity. So what is the escape velocity for Dalits, asked Rahul Gandhi to a group of Dalits in Delhi on October 8. No doubt we will hear more such wise words as Rahul Gandhi addresses Muslims across Uttar Pradesh. For such a modern man, it is a pity he has imprisoned himself in such a dated discourse. First- time voters, middle class voters, women voters. The BJP was the first to discover the potential of the 18- 22 generation while the growing popularity of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi shows the angry middle class could be a powerful constituency. What the silent segment of women in the country now need is a little of that Jupiter escape velocity to register on the minds of politicians.
For a while in December when Jyoti died tragically after being raped in Delhi, it seemed women had found their moment. It seemed old entrenched ways of conducting the business of politics were changing. The Justice Varma committee met and gave its recommendations. A new anti rape bill was formulated. The budget saw a new Nirbhaya fund being established. But then the old ugliness returned. A so- called spiritual leader preyed on a young girl and a lawyer famous for defending the indefensible got away by questioning her mental solvency. A minister in the Rajasthan government attempted to rape a woman and he got to confront his accuser at his home, at his convenience and under police escort.
And yet women have shown over the years that they are increasingly taking charge of expenditure outside the home and entertainment options inside. Could it be that in this General Election they will show that they will lead the way at the ballot boxes? Indications are good. If you carefully examine the trends for each state over the last 15 years, there is a bigger story hidden in there. The turnout gap between men and women is decreasing with each election, down to 4 per cent in 2009 with the voting percentage for men being 60 and for women being 56. In fact, in a few recent Assembly elections, the turnout of female voters has surpassed that of male voters.
So don’t be surprised if the 2014 Lok Sabha polls becomes historic in that sense. This could very well become the first General Election in 60 years when females could outnumber male voters on polling day. The gender vote bank has been visible sporadically in the past; especially during emotional campaigns ( for example, 1984 after Indira Gandhi’s assassination) or the 1998 Delhi Assembly elections ( when onion prices went through the roof), according to CVoter. This time, the change could be permanent. Women could be making the decisive cut. And they will not do so impressed that Alpha Male Narendra Modi can tell good stories about Jasuben’s pizzas. Or that New Age Man Rahul Gandhi can tell us why Kalawati matters. Or that the Food Security Bill makes women the heads of the household to prevent misuse. Or that personable Priya is the face of the Bharat Nirman campaign. They will do so because they believe they can make a decisive difference in the elections.
WOMEN HAVE SHOWN OVER THE YEARS THAT THEY ARE INCREASINGLY TAKING CHARGE OF EXPENDITURE OUTSIDE THE HOME AND ENTERTAINMENT OPTIONS INSIDE. COULD IT BE THAT IN THIS GENERAL ELECTION THEY WILL SHOWTHAT THEY WILL LEAD THE WAY AT THE BALLOT BOXES?