The Congress today hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP for not bringing in the women’s reservation bill despite having a majority government and the issue having been a part of the party’s manifesto in the 2014 general elections. The bill has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha and is to be passed by the Lower House before it becomes a law. It will ensure 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies. Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev hit out at the BJP, saying the ruling party claimed that there was no consensus on the issue and asked if it had brought about a consensus before implementing demonetisation and the triple talaq bill. Congress MP Rajana Patil claimed that the prime minister talked too much, but “he does not have the political will to bring this bill and get it passed in the Lok Sabha”.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi, despite his majority, is deliberately and intentionally not bringing the women’s reservation bill,” she told reporters. “The prime minister will only highlight his jumlas, he will not highlight the problems women are facing in our country,” Dev claimed and asked, “What excuse does the government have to not pass the women’s reservation bill in Parliament?”. She said the Congress had always fought for the passage of the bill, but the government despite having a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, was not ready to get it passed. “Why is the prime minister lagging behind in ‘ease of doing business’. Just economic reforms are not enough, social reforms are also required,” she said advocating for the early passage of the bill.
“If this government claims that they could not build a consensus on the women reservation bill, then it is biggest lie in this country,” she said. She also warned that if the bill was not passed soon, the Mahila Congress would protest outside Modi’s residence. “It should not be made a partisan issue, it should be made a social reform…We have heard enough about ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, now we want to hear ‘beti ko sadan mein lao’ (bring daughters to Parliament),” she said and added that there were more than 49 per cent women in the country. The Mahila Congress chief said instead of promising to act on their demands, the government tried to “muzzle” the voice of women demanding passage of the bill.
Dev said the prime minister had embarked on a “rhetoric-filled” campaign ignoring the demand for reservation. “Women in the legislature is the most significant social reform that this country needs and yet the bill which has seen a tumultuous journey for decades remains pending. “The Narendra Modi-led government constantly brags about forming a majority government after decades. However, a PM with such brute majority behind him has not mustered the courage or shown the conviction to introduce a bill that he promised in his 2014 poll manifesto,” she said. The “hypocrisy” of the government was exposed by the fact that the triple talaq bill was introduced and debated in a hurry without consultations with any stakeholders, Dev alleged.
“In spite of tall promises, the government has also failed to make good on the promises that it made in its manifesto in 2014,” she said. She also wrote a letter to all MPs appealing to them to push for the women’s reservation bill to be introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha. Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala said, “We hope on international women’s day, the prime minister will after hearing the voice of his inner conscience give a positive thought to the issue.”