New Delhi: Six days after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to take up the Women’s Reservation Bill during the Winter Session of Parliament beginning Tuesday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi too has written letters to the chief ministers of Congress and allianceled state governments to pass a resolution in favour of the Bill. The Women’s Reservation Bill seeks 33% reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies. Gandhi’s letter is dated December 6.
“Congress is ready to support the government on the passage of the Bill,” All-India Mahila Congress President Sushmita Dev told ET.
“Women’s Reservation Bill was part of our manifesto and also the manifesto of the BJP. Regional parties such as TDP, BJD, DMK and others have also expressed their support.
Then what is stopping the PM and the BJP in passing the bill. This is virtually the last session of the current Parliament,” said Dev who has written a similar letter on November 23.
Congress sources tell ET that the party wants to put pressure on the ruling BJP and make it an issue in the upcoming session as well as during the party’s campaign for 2019.
The party is also targeting women voters before 2019 general elections.
In the recently held assembly elections, women voters are estimated to have voted in large numbers, encouraging the party in reviving its demand for the Bill. “It is obvious that women are coming out in large numbers to vote. Now it’s time to give them larger representation as promised by the BJP government.
Rahul Gandhi has written to the PM more than a year ago. The onus is on the government now,” adds Dev.
Gandhi has been vocal about higher participation of women in parliamentary democracy during his election speeches. However, tickets given to women by the two main parties BJP and Congress during the recently held assembly elections, leaves a lot to be desired. In Rajasthan, Congress fielded 27 women out of its 195 candidates as compared to 23 women candidates put up by the BJP. In Madhya Pradesh, Congress gave tickets to 28 women out of its 229 candidates against 24 women candidates of the BJP. In Chhattisgarh, 13 women contested on Congress tickets as against 15 from BJP in the 90-seat assembly. In Telangana, Congress fielded 11 women candidates in the 119-member House.