Pune: Social activist Kanchan Kshirsagar is not happy that she is the only woman Lok Sabha Election candidate from Pune.
“It’s sad that I am the only female candidate from Pune constituency. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of women who want to participate in politics. If I win, it will encourage others to participate,” said 46-year-old Kshirsagar.
A resident of Yerawada, Kshirsagar, who is born and brought up in Dadar, Mumbai, has been living in Pune for 27 years. A post graduate in social work, she is running her NGO ‘Panchtarka Mahila Vikas Sansthan’ for the past 15 years and working for the upliftment of women. She works as a counseller in slums in areas like Chandan Nagar, Yerawada, Bhavani Peth, Vishrantwadi, Laxmi Nagar and others.
She felt that contesting as an independent candidate will give her more liberty than being part of a big political party. “When you are associated with a big political party, your individual opinion doesn’t matter and one can succumb under party pressure. Whereas, as an independent candidate, I will have full liberty to voice my opinion and work for my people.”
Her election agenda is to empower women and bring them to the forefront. She is also keen on empowering people from slums by providing them with basic facilities. “There is so much fear in women due to the pressure of patriarchal society, which stops them from active participation. I want to empower each woman by removing this fear and bringing confidence in them. No political party has done anything for women upliftment, even if there is a case of rape, a lot of political leaders blame it on women. I would also work to reduce crime against women so that they feel safe and secure,” she said.
“A lot of government facilities don’t reach the slum dwellers. If I win, I will re-develop the slum areas and provide them with facilities like affordable housing and education,” she added.
“I was also always inclined to do social work and do something for the community and underprivileged and this Lok Sabha election has given me a platform to bring that change. Even if I do not win, I will continue my work for the society and community,” she said.