While it's no news that our country has very few women politicians, now an election pamphlet has replaced the photos of women candidates with their husbands'. Really.
The pamphlet is a list of candidates for an election campaign for Municipal elections in Ullal in Mangalore. This particular election had some special wards reserved for women, which was represented in the pamphlet by blank spaces with a cross instead of where their pictures should have appeared.
The party whose pamphlet is being distributed, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) "claims to stand for women empowerment" especially in their campaign material. However, the pamphlet shows otherwise, with the faces of women not only removed but being replaced by male members of their family.
The Municipality election is to be held on August 31 and the parties will contest across 31 wards. This is the first time that this urban local body with 44,273 people will go to polls, with 50% of the seats reserved for women.
SDPI party candidates told reporters that "it was not compulsory that the candidates' pictures be displayed," and "it is just a formality, and being local residents, the voters know their candidates."
The lack of representation of women (or rather being replaced by men's faces) surfaced after a Twitter user posted a picture of the pamphlet she had received.
Hilarious ! Women empowerment at zenith! SDPI contestants of Women reserved corporation wards at Ullala, Mangaluru have placed their husbands' pic leaving their own blank! Now @RanaAyyub @_sabanaqvi should celebrate empowerment! pic.twitter.com/tZFxyCxYA5 — Shakuntala Iyer (@shakkuiyer) August 25, 2018
Twitter reacted wondering how people were expected to vote if they didn't know who the candidate was, and had sarcastic reactions to this move by the party.
Is this even legal? How would voters know who are they voting for? How can voters expect this person to stand up for them who cannot take control of her own life? — subash (@VyaktiAaniValli) August 25, 2018
Buri Nazar Naa Lage. That is why it is kept blank . @Nidhi @_sabanaqvi — K.Krishna Mallya (@k_kkmallya589) August 27, 2018
Better leaving blank than full of postbox tents 😂😂👎 — Ramakrishna UR (@ramakirao) August 26, 2018