With less than five days to the Ullal City Municipal Council (CMC) polls, the Social Democratic Party of India decided to highlight its women candidates contesting the election by using the picture of male family members in campaign material, instead of the woman’s picture.
The SDPI, which claims to stand for women empowerment in its campaign material, blanked out the faces of its women candidates in the campaign leaflets and displayed the pictures of their husbands or male members of their family. However, to the surprise of the prospective voters and public at large, the photos of the women candidates — Rukhiya Iqbal (Ward No. 1 - Kotepura), Shahanaz Akram Hasan (Ward No. 2 - Ullal Kodi), Kamarunnisa Nizam (Ward No. 11 - Melangady), Zarina Banu Rauf (Ward No. 12 - Halekote) — were missing. Instead, a second column in the leaflet showed the pictures of the male members of the candidate’s family. A total of 102 candidates are in the fray.
The parties go to polls on August 31 to contest across the 31 wards. This is for the first time that this urban local body with 44,273 people will go to polls, with 50% of the seats reserved for women.
Speaking to the media, SDPI district president Ataulla Jokatte dismissed the issue.
“It is just a formality. It is upto the candidate whether they want their picture or not. Nevertheless, being local residents, the voters know their candidates," he said.
SDPI party functionary Mahammed Akram Hasan, whose wife is the party's candidate for Ward No. 12, disconnected the call from this reporter. Another party worker added that while the party respects women empowerment, it was not compulsory that the candidates' pictures be displayed.
“Initially the candidates themselves expressed concerns about their pictures being displayed. We just respected their sentiments. We thoroughly uphold empowerment of women and if you check our new pamphlets, photos of all the candidates are now displayed," SDPI party functionary Nawaz said.
Story by www.storyinfinity.com (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP).