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The Mid-Day quotes Karnataka's youngest MLA candidate, Hemashree, who also happens to be a TV host:

“My TV appearances made me famous and gave me the confidence to contest,” Hemashree told MiD DAY.In Seeregondu Saval, Hemashree asks women to call in and guess the price of a sari, and hands it over to the caller who gets closest to its marked price. “People in the villages treat me like their daughter. I think women will stand by me,” she said.

I am not surprised. Sarees have become the standard gift in elections. It was only appropriate that they get the host of a TV show selling sarees to buy votes at election time.

How do I know she is not going to be an exception to the rule? Because she said this too:

“Women can’t think of entering politics if they do not have a godfather and money. If you have to contest an election, you need to have money. Spend money and think that you will never get it back. You should have influence too to get a ticket...If not for my father, I would never have been here. Women can enter politics only if their family is into it.”

Supporters of the women's reservation bill may be disappointed, but I am not. Artificial representation has always been a clever distraction from the million mutinies India really needs. Reservations may force political parties to look at new candidates within their ranks and outside, but most likely, as Hemashree unashamedly admits, the nominees are going to be the ones with godfathers and money. At best, there is not going to be any change in the quality of the candidates. At worst, candidates with merit could get sidelined if they happen to be male.

Halfway across the world, Hillary is facing issues with the historic nature of her own candidacy for the White House. Unlike Obama, Hillary has no stirring speech on women's issues. They are non-existent in this election where she faces off two male candidates. In all likelihood, a Hillary withdrawal would not disappoint female voters, because if she were to drop out now, it would have less to do with the idea of a woman in power than her ability to rally voters around the issues of the day. Hemashree will learn just as Hillary has, even in politics, inspiring voters has nothing to do with your sex or sarees.


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