Rahul reaches out to women with quota bill promise ahead of polls
Jeypore (Odisha): Reaching out to the huge constituency of women voters ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi Friday promised passage of the Women's Reservation Bill, in limbo for the last nine years since being cleared by the Rajya Sabha, if his party is voted to power.
Interacting with women on the International Women's Day, Gandhi exhorted them to fight for "space" in every sphere of life as the country cannot progress without their effective and equal participation.
"You must fight for your space and don't consider yourself lesser than a man. Women should fight for due place - be it the Assembly, Lok Sabha or the business field," he said responding to a query by a woman delegate at the conclave.
He also asked men to work towards securing for women their due place in society.
"There is an urgent need to provide reservation for women in state assemblies and Lok Sabha to ensure their empowerment. Congress is keen to ensure this and will do it if it voted to power," Gandhi said, calling Women's Reservation Bill an effective instrument for their empowerment.
The 108th Constitution (amendment) Bill, which envisages 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament and state assemblies, was brought by the then UPA government in 2008 and passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010. Its passage was one of the promises made by the BJP in its election manifesto for the 2014 general elections. Apart from the BJP and the Congress, several parties including the Left, NCP, AIADMK and DMK have backed the legislation but a law for women's reservation in these bodies remains as elusive as ever.
Gandhi said women should participate more and more in politics, and referred to how they had benefited from quotas in panchayati raj institutions in some states.