Puducherry’s lone woman legislator, S Chandira Priyanga, resigned as a minister from the AINRC-BJP government alleging gender and caste-based discrimination.
Explaining her decision, the 34-year-old said that the ‘male-dominated’ political world does not let women flourish.
“Women are treated only as women. You may be educated, even come from a privileged background but the male-dominated political world conspires to treat you in such a manner as to break you. You do not get respect even if you are capable and doing your job well,” Ms Priyanga told NDTV.
In 2021, the Neduncadu MLA became the first woman to be made a minister in the union territory after a gap of over 40 years. Ms Priyanga was then handed the Transport portfolio in the N Ranagsamy-led coalition cabinet.
Ms Priyanga said that she had always been proud of her Dalit woman identity but didn’t think it would be used against her. “After resigning, I feel free now, to work for the people who reposed confidence in me and do what I set out to do,” the leader said when asked why she didn’t stay back and fight.
“Why should it matter whether you are a man or woman, where you came from? What should matter is whether you can deliver and work for people but that doesn’t happen. I couldn’t take the harassment rooted in patriarchy,” she said.
In her resignation letter, Ms Priyanga requested Chief Minister N Rangasamy to appoint a person from a Dalit, Vanniyar, or some other marginalised community as her replacement in the ministry.
She said in her letter that although she entered the Assembly due to her popularity among the people in her constituency, she, however, realised it was not so easy to overcome “politics of conspiracy and I could not fight against the big ghost of money power”.
“I was also targeted continuously and found that I could not bear the politics of conspiracy and the big ghost of money power any longer beyond certain limits,” she wrote.