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Why Didi’s Eleven is raring to say ‘Khela Hobe’ in West Bengal | India News


NEW DELHI: What do an anganwadi worker, two doctors, four actors, one investment banker and three career politicians have in common? They are all women, all newly elected MPs, all from Bengal, and all from Trinamool Congress. ‘Didi’s Eleven’ have put Bengal on top of the list of states that have sent the most female representatives to the 18th Lok Sabha.
The 11 MPs were among a pool of 29 from the party — 37.9%, or more than one in three — that the party sent to the Lower House, the eclectic mix an indication of the depth of the party’s pool of female representatives.
That’s perhaps not surprising. The party, founded by a woman in 1998, has always been committed to women’s empowerment and welfare, party seniors say.
Trinamool’s first batch to Lok Sabha — in 1999 — had two women out of eight MPs. Apart from founder Mamata Banerjee, Krishna Bose, a historian and a member of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s family, was the other parliamentarian then.

Why Didi’s Eleven is raring to say ‘Khela Hobe’ in West Bengal.

From two women MPs in 1998 to 12 in 2014 and 11 in 2024, it’s been an eventful journey, one that mirrors the importance of women in Bengali society, said Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, a Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson.
“From the women-centric schemes that help even the poorest of women in Bengal’s villages, to the representation that we give women in the highest chamber of Indian democracy, everything represents our commitment to women’s uplift,” he added.
For the 2024 poll battle, 12 women got Trinamool tickets, of whom 11 won.
BJP had fielded five women, including former Union minister Debasree Chowdhury and other big names like Agnimitra Paul and Locket Chatterjee, apart from surprise newbies like Rekha Patra and Amrita Roy. Each lost.
The high number of women getting elected from Bengal is not a flash in the pan, felt sociologist Prashanta Roy. “Women voters tend to choose Trinamool. The CM herself, being a woman, is also a reason, along with social schemes like Lakhsmir Bhandar,” he explained.
The winning MPs agree. “In Bengal, women’s empowerment has been on the upswing since Mamata Banerjee became CM in 2011,” said first-time MP Sharmila Sarkar, who was elected from Burdwan East. “We’ve created a milieu where women can assert themselves.”
ICDS worker Mitali Bag, also a first-time MP (from Arambag), said: “I want to ensure no one in my constituency faces the hardships I’ve had to face. Inspired by Didi, I want to take women forward.”
Yet another first-time MP, actor June Maliah, felt her party has “walked the talk” when it came to women’s empowerment. “And we can assure one thing: this team of 11 women is going to make a lot of noise in Parliament,” she said. “We will raise our voice on issues that matter.”
— Inputs from Mohammad Asif





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