Haryana has seen the rule of ten Chief Ministers since its inception as an independent state from 1966 but never placed any of the women politicians on the top post.
It is not that the agrarian state did have women politicians with substance but it never got its due in the last 56 years.
Right from late Sushma Swaraj who started her political innings from Ambala in 1977 to Kiran Choudhry, the daughter-in-law of former Chief Minister late Bansi Lal, the state is studded with potential women politicians.
Kumari Selja, former parliamentarian is the president of Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee. Known for her political maturity with which she handles the public, she is considered very close to Sonia Gandhi. A prominent Dalit face, Selja did not reach to the top in Congress party without struggle. In her debut election, she had lost from Sirsa parliamentary constituency in 1987. The by-election was necessitated by the death of her father Dalbir Singh.
Despite facing undercutting from within the party and outside in the electoral politics, she made a place for herself in party high-command and her support base.
In Haryana political circles, she is known to be bête noire of Rohtak strongman-two time chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Naina Chautala-the first ever female stepped out from the famous Devi Lal clan is one of the most popular politicians among rural folk.
She takes no time in establishing connections with masses, especially women who come from rustic backgrounds. Her ‘Hari Chunri Ki Chaupal’ got quite famous in hinterland and established her as a serious politician. Even after shifting base from Dabwali segment in Sirsa district to Badhra in Bhiwani, she won the election on Jan Nayak Janta Party ticket.
Chandrawati-who trounced Bansi Lal
Those who are aware of the emergency period, know how powerful Bansi Lal-the protégé of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in political scenario. Chandrawati, a woman from Charkhi Dadri took on the mighty Bansi Lal in the Lok Sabha poll and trounced him by over one lakh votes. However, much credit goes to the anger in public for the alleged role of Bansi Lal during the emergency period but Chandrawati’s name went on the annals of history.
Kiran & Shruti- Female power from Bansi Lal clan
The flamboyant Kiran Choudhry-the daughter-in-law of ex-CM Bansi Lal, created a niche for herself in Haryana politics after her husband Surender Singh passed away. Surender Singh had remained a Minister and was quite popular among the electorate for his gentle behaviour and easy accessibility for masses.
Kiran remained Minister in the Congress government when Bhupinder Singh Hooda was in power. Despite not having a number to her side, Kiran Choudhry as Congress Legislature Party leader after BJP came to power in 2014, had fought tooth and nail against Hooda. While almost all of the Congress MLA submissively joined the Hooda camp but Kiran stood to her ground much like a woman who cannot be taken for granted.
Her aspiration to be Chief Minister face of the grand-old party is well-known. Shruti is Bansi Lal’s granddaughter and was elected Member of Parliament from Bhiwani segment. The mother-daughter duos meet the people of Bhiwani Lok Sabha after regular intervals and especially during festive seasons or natural calamity time in the agrarian belt.
Om Prabha Jain
The other names of women in state politics are Om Prabha Jain, who held the finance portfolio in the Bansi Lal’s regime in 1977. People used to believe that if ever Bansi Lal be replaced from the coveted post, Om Prabha would be at the helm of affairs of the state.
But luck never smiled on the woman politician in the politics ruled by men. Kamla Verma, who was the president of the state unit of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, had served as the health minister in Devi Lal’s regime.
She was put in jail during emergency time for 19 months.
Known for her grip on social issues and raising them during Assembly Session, Geeta Bhukkal who now represent Jhajjar assembly segment in Haryana, had once held Education, Health, Women & Child Development portfolio. Been a Minister from 2009 to 2014, Geeta Bhukkal hails from Matanhail village of Jhajjar district. An alumnus of Panjab University, she completed her masters degree from DAV Chandigarh and Law degree from Delhi University. She debuted in political arena in 2005 from ertwhile Kalayat assembly constituency. Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda backed MLA remained victorious in 2005, 2009, 2014 & 2019 assembly elections.
Similarly, Kartari Devi, remained health minister, Vidhya Beniwal, a Devi Lal loyalist served as member of Rajya Sabha. Lekhawati Jain served as deputy speaker, MP Subhadra Joshi was an MP, Prasanni Devi, Shakuntala Bhagwaria, Sharda Rani, Sumita Singh and Basanti Devi and Latika Sharma served as ministers in the Haryana Government in different times.————————-