Congress president Rahul Gandhi today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of remaining silent on incidents of alleged rape, including in shelter homes in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and asserted that what is happening against women during his tenure, had not happened in the previous 3,000 years in India. Gandhi also said that his aim was to have 50 per cent women in the Congress while asserting that the BJP cannot put forward such a vision as its “parent organisation”, the RSS, was a “male chauvinist organisation”. Taking a swipe at the government’s campaign of “beti bachao, beti padhao”, he said that it was actually for “saving the daughters from BJP MLAs”, an apparent reference to some BJP leaders accused in rape cases.
He alleged that Modi had remained silent over the atrocities against women in the backdrop of rapes of girls in shelter homes in Muzaffarpur in Bihar and in Uttar Pradesh. “The prime minister speaks on everything — bullet train, aeroplanes, toilets, but not women. Whenever there are atrocities on women, he does not speak up,” Gandhi said. “(He) had talked about changing India, had talked about 70 years…what they have done against women in the last four years, had not happened in the previous 3,000 years in this country, leave alone 70 years,” Gandhi said.
The Congress leader, while addressing a “Mahila Adhikaar Sammelan” at Talkatora Stadium here, promised to extend his party’s full support to the passage of the women reservation bill and said if the Modi government does not bring it, the Congress will do so soon after coming to power. He also talked of empowering women within the Congress and bringing them forward in the organisation, for them to lead a state or the country one day. He promised to include more women in central units of the AICC, saying “the country needs them”.
“In UP women are raped, the prime minister does not say a word on it. In Jharkhand and in various states women are raped, in Bihar small girls are raped, but our prime minister cannot speak a word on it,” he said. In a reference to the Unnao rape case, Gandhi said that in UP “their MLA is accused of rape”, but the prime minister does not say a word. Women across the country go out scared, he claimed. The Congress chief also said that whenever the prime minister goes abroad, he embraces leaders, but has no answer to the question — why women are not safe in India.
He promised to bring women to the forefront of the party in framing policy, manifesto and strengthening the organisation. He said his job as the Congress president is to ensure women have equal space in the organisation. “We are going to create space for you in the Congress party. We need to create special space for women in our party. We need to create a space at every level. “The RSS and the BJP will never be able to show the country a similar vision. Their parent organisation, the RSS, in its history has never allowed a woman into its organisation,” Gandhi said.
“There are other organisations in the BJP that have females in it, but the RSS is a completely male chauvinist organisation that does not believe in giving space to women,” Gandhi alleged, adding that they simply “can’t do what we can do”. The day one woman enters the RSS, it will not remain the RSS, Gandhi said. The ideology of the BJP and the RSS is that India will be run by men, women cannot run this country, he said. “Women’s place is at the back and men’s place is in front. This is the biggest difference between us and them,” the Congress leader said.
Launching a fierce attack on the prime minister, Gandhi said various institutions were under attack from the BJP and the RSS, who have “devastated” the country, and that the Congress party will unitedly defeat them in the coming days. “Institutions are under attack in the country, be it Parliament, vidhan sabhas and the judiciary. Minorities, Dalits, women, tribals, small businessmen are under attack. We will fight the BJP and defeat them in the coming days. “The Congress party and the opposition are working together to fight the ideology of the BJP. We are fighting an ideological battle,” he said.
Talking about the women reservation bill, which is pending for the last few years, the Congress chief said the BJP lacks commitment on the issue. Promising to bring women forward within the Congress and give them their rightful place, Gandhi while pointing to the slogan “your fight is our fight” put up at the conference, said you can add “your right is Congress president’s fight”.
He said if he faced with a choice between a man and a woman for selecting election candidate, he will choose whoever is more capable. “If both are equally capable, I will choose the woman as a candidate,” Gandhi said. Gandhi, along with Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev, unveiled the flag and the symbol of Mahila Congress. Gandhi also said that the media should no longer worry, while alleging that the BJP and the RSS are frightening them.