Congress president Sonia Gandhi has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get the women’s reservation bill passed in the Lok Sabha by taking advantage of the BJP’s majority in the House.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Gandhi assured him of her party’s support to the legislation, which she said would be a significant step forward in the empowerment of women.
“I am writing to request you to take advantage of your majority in the Lok Sabha to now get the women’s reservation bill passed in the Lower House as well,” Gandhi said in the letter, dated September 20.
The Rajya Sabha had passed the bill on March 9, 2010.
Speaking to reporters here, Congress women’s wing chief Sushmita Dev questioned the alleged delay by the government in ensuring the passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha.
The ruling BJP should show that its commitment towards the legislation is not mere “symbolism”, she said.
She asked Modi to assure the country’s women that the reservations would be implemented before 2019, when the next general elections will be held.
In her letter, Gandhi recalled that the Congress and its late leader Rajiv Gandhi had first mooted the provision for quotas for women in panchayats and municipal bodies through Constitution amendment bills.
At present, there are only 62 out of 543 MPs are women in the Lok Sabha, according to a PRS data. However, this is the highest number of Women MPs ever elected to the Lok Sabha. In the previous Lok Sabha, there were 58 women members.
Here is the full letter:
Dear Prime Minister,
You may recall that the Rajya Sabha had passed the Women’s Reservation Bill on March 9, 2010. Since then, however, it has languished in the Lok Sabha for one reason or another.
I am writing to request you to take advantage of your majority in the Lok Sabha to now get the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in the Lower House as well. The Congress Party has always and will continue to support this legislation which will be a significant step forward in the empowerment of women.
You may recall that it was, in fact, the Congress Party and its late leader Shri Rajiv Gandhi who first mooted the provision for reservation for women in panchayats and nagarpalikas in the Constitution Amendment Bills which the Opposition parties thwarted in the Rajya Sabha in 1989 but later were passed by both Houses of Parliament in 1993 becoming the 73rd and 74th Amendments.
Sonia Gandhi (Ends)
-Inputs from Agencies