The Women’s Reservation Bill may still be pending in Parliament, but 33% of the candidates from Odisha elected to the Lok Sabha are women, that too representing different sections of society.
Seven of total 21 MPs from Odisha are women. While five women have won the elections on Biju Janata Dal tickets, two belong to the BJP. They include a former IAS officer, a doctor, an engineer, a grassroots-level leader, a member of erstwhile royal family, and a homemaker.
Ever since Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that his party, the BJD, would field 33% women candidates, it was expected that the representation of women would go up.
Of the seven women candidates fielded by Mr. Patnaik, five emerged victorious while of two of the three BJP women candidates won.
Aparajita Sarangi, a former IAS officer who had a reputation of an able administrator, tasted success in her electoral debut. In November 2018, Ms Sarangi, the ex-Odisha cadre officer who last served as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Rural Development, had joined the BJP. She won the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat, a bastion of ruling BJD.
Pramila Bisoyi has been in news right from her nomination as a BJD candidate from Aska Lok Sabha seat. For the 68-year-old belonging to a humble farmer family, politics was altogether a different world. But the Chief Minister reposed faith in her because of her involvement in the women’s self-help group movement for 18 years. Aska being the BJD bastion, her victory was never doubted.
Chandrani Murmu, the 25-year-old tribal woman who won from Keonjhar on a BJD ticket, has already registered her name in the record book for being the youngest member to be elected to the Lok Sabha. Ms. Murmu has earned a BTech degree from a Bhubaneswar-based engineering college.
BJP leader Sangeeta Singh Deo, a royal member of erstwhile Patnagarh estate, is not new to politics. She had won Balangir thrice before.
Rajashree Mallick, who was an associate professor in pathology department of SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack before joining politics, won the coastal Jagatsinghpur seat on a BJD ticket.
Other two BJD leaders who successfully ran in the elections include Sarmistha Sethi, who had taken voluntary retirement from Odisha Financial Services to fight contest, and Manjulata Mandal, a housewife. Ms. Sethi and Ms. Mandal won Jajpur and Bhadrak seats resectively .