Had it not been for BJP’s team of ‘women warriors’, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s development model focused on the ‘last mile delivery’ would have, perhaps, fallen short of its desired objectives.
Foremost among these foot soldiers is sitting MLA from Kalka, Latika Sharma who has worked relentlessly towards the BJP’s quintessential last mile delivery agenda.
Talking to DH, 54-year old Latika Sharma, a Delhi-bred advocate by profession, explains why the last mile delivery of government schemes was essential to ensure equitable development under the Khattar regime.
For decades, regions like the upper inhospitable semi-hilly regions of Morni in her constituency were deprived of electricity supply.
“There were 110 small clusters in Morni region which got electricity during my term as MLA. This explains the importance of our last mile delivery agenda. There weren’t roads in remote areas. We connected schools in these terrain with roads. The result in schools has improved,” Latika said.
Nestled in the backdrop of a hill, the Hindu-dominated Kalka constituency is the gateway to Himachal Pradesh and derives its name after Goddess Kali.
An ancient Kali temple beholds faith among followers.
Interestingly, Kalka is number one in the order of Assembly constituencies listed by the Election Commission.
For one or the other reasons, top leaders cutting across party lines, including former prime minister H D Deva Gowda, have visited Kalka to pay obeisance at a revered shrine up the hill.
Latika, a philanthropist and a “Kali Bakht”, says many women workers like her have been working silently to aggrandize BJP’s micromanagement scheme right up to the last point of delivery.
Ironically, women participation in electoral politics hasn’t been encouraging in Jatland.
While there are as many as 1,169 candidates in poll fray this time, only 104 of them are women.
Nearly 90% contestants are men.
The INLD has fielded 15 women candidates, the BJP 12 while the Congress has fielded nine.
The last Assembly elections in 2014 saw maximum participation of women candidates (116). That was the time when maximum number of women, as many as thirteen, were elected to the Vidhan Sabha.
Latika is pitted against Pradeep Chaudhary, who recently switched over to the Congress from the INLD. In 2014, she had defeated Pradeep Chaudhary by over 19,000 votes to win Kalka.