A proposal for using sortition in a women’s party in India

An op-ed by Sucheta Dasgupta in the Deccan Chronicle.

The Women’s Party: An opening manifesto
Aug 2, 2020

The case for an all-women party becomes all the more urgent seeing as the women’s reservation bill has been hanging fire for 12 years and at the panchayati raj level, where 33 per cent reservation has been implemented, many of the elected are being seen as stooges of their husbands, or worse, more malevolent forms of patriarchy.

Clearly, whether equity of outcome or equality of opportunity is the goal, reservations are not the final answer.

Say, we form a women’s party. Luck (sortition), and not election experience or ‘winnability’, will be the criterion for handing out tickets within this women’s party (it will perhaps make for grooming of many good leaders and save it from the trap a certain young Delhi-based, and now Delhi-confined, party has fallen into).

Turncoats may avail party membership but will be barred from this draw of lots. The left/right nature of electoral politics excludes perspectives and concerns falling outside particular party agendas — these are deliberately kept out for fear of misperception of ideological dilution on the part of the electorate.

One advantage of sortition over intra-party elections will be that, not being partisan in the old sense of the word, new members will bring to the table many more of these perspectives and concerns.

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