Sonia-led women MPs make spirited pitch for reservation
Cutting across party lines, women parliamentarians on Tuesday unanimously demanded passage of Women’s Reservation Bill. The Bill, which proposes to amend the Constitution to reserve 33 per cent of all seats in the lower house and in all state legislative assemblies for women, had been passed by Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2010, while Lok Sabha has not yet voted on the bill since February 2014.
Speaking in Lok Sabha, on occasion of International Women’s Day, Congress president Sonia Gandhi called for passage of the bill in the Parliament. Gandhi advocated equal rights to women saying the country must have the courage to deal with the social evils that women are facing.
While taking on NDA government, Gandhi said, “Maximum governance does not only mean accelerating economic growth but it also involves debates and discussion without any retaliation. Despite their remarkable performance in different fields, women continue to be the victims of oppression and discrimination.”
Participating in the discussion, BJP’s Mathura MP Hema Malini said, “Every girl should be allowed to dream big like a boy. The society that nurtures women automatically becomes a cultured society.”
Advocating financial strength to women, TMC MP Satabdi Roy said, “We don’t want a separate seat in the bus, we want to drive that bus. We don’t want separate queues…there should be no tax exemption. I want to earn Rs 5 crore and pay my full tax.”
Referring to the refusal of temple authorities at Shani temple in Maharashtra on allowing women to enter the sanctum sanctorum, Bhavna Gawali of Shiv Sena said, “While we talk of equality, we can’t go to temples. Women at grassroots level have been provided reservation in local bodies, but the real show is being run by their husbands and fathers.”
NCP MP Supriya Sule, TRS MP K Kavitha, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi and others also participated in the debate. Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah, making a submission on Women’s Day expressed the hope that the Bill, which has been passed by Rajya Sabha, would see the light of day during the current year itself.
Earlier, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan called upon the MPs to re-dedicate themselves to the cause of women’s participation, equality and commitment towards mitigating the hurdles in women’s education. “Women have always been contributing to the upliftment of the society in various human forms like daughter, sister, wife and mother,” Mahajan said, while stressing on the need to ensure maximum participation of women in the decision making process, nation building and in development in all walks of life.