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Sonia on Modi govt: NDA selling fake dreams

Sonia on Modi govt: NDA selling fake dreams
Highlights

Making a strong pitch for women\'s reservation in Parliament and state Assemblies, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said her party would put \"full pressure\" on the NDA government to pass the bill on the issue as soon as possible.

New Delhi: Making a strong pitch for women's reservation in Parliament and state Assemblies, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said her party would put "full pressure" on the NDA government to pass the bill on the issue as soon as possible.

Addressing a conference of Mahila Congress here, she accused the Narendra Modi government of copying the schemes and programmes of the UPA government and rued that despite doing so much, the Congress-led alliance lost in the Lok Sabha polls as people got misled by false promises.

Sonia Gandhi PHOTO

"We had done so much but still people got misled as some persons laid a trap. Our work, our achievement got aside and those showing false dreams marched ahead," Gandhi said at the first such large gathering of party workers after the election debacle.

On the occasion of 70th birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, the Congress President said empowering women was one of the two priorities, which the Congress leader had pursued ever since he had become the General Secretary of the party.

He believed that no country could move forward by ignoring half of its population, she said.

Listing a number of steps taken by Rajiv for women empowerment including reservation for them in panchayats and setting up of a national commission for women, the Congress chief said that the late Prime Minister also wanted that women should get representation in Parliament and Assemblies.

She, however, regretted that nobody took the issue forward after Rajiv's death.

Unfortunately the bill could not get passed in Lok Sabha because of some political parties, she said, noting that the Congress-led UPA government took up the issue when it came to power in 2004 and ensured passage of the measure in Rajya Sabha.

"Today, we are in opposition but Congress will not withdraw from its commitment to women's reservation and we will build full pressure on the NDA government to pass the bill as soon as possible," she said.

The 18-year journey of the Women's Reservation Bill has been marked by high drama and roadblocks in each outing in Parliament before the historic measure cleared the first legislative hurdle in March 2010 when Rajya Sabha passed it during a sitting which saw marshals being used.

The bill seeks to reserve 33 per cent of the seats in Parliament and legislative Assemblies for women.

"All Congress-ruled states have given 50 per cent reservation to women in local bodies while no BJP-ruled state has done so", Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza had earlier claimed.

Taking a dig at the Modi government, Gandhi said that those who have come in the government today were showing a different picture to the people as per their old habits.

"They are implementing the same schemes brought by the UPA government," she said.

Noting that victory and defeat were part of life, she said, "The real thing is that one should stick to principles and Congress has never sacrificed its principles for power."

Asking women congress workers to raise the issues of women's exploitation in a big way and help the victims in getting justice from police stations and courts, she said that they should not leave any stone unturned to bring back "victory and glory to the party".

"Notwithstanding the fact that our struggle is for a longer period, we may have to work hard. But if all of us work unitedly, the day is not far away when Congress will regain its peak," she said.

Addressing the "Sankalp Diwas" convention, Sonia said her party will put "full pressure" on the NDA government to pass the Women Reservation bill as despite being in Opposition her party cannot withdraw from its commitment on the issue.

Rahul, the party Vice President, asked women to join the party in large numbers to strengthen it in the "battle of ideologies" after the formation of NDA government at Centre.

While Sonia talked the measures initiated for empowering women by Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul promised "Tsunami" of measures to empower women within organization as it urged them to join the party in large numbers in the "ideological battle" ahead.

"The way Tsunami had come, a Tsunami of Mahila Congress is also to come in Congress. Fill Congress with the strength of women and I will field you from wherever you can fight—be it Panchayat, assembly or Parliamentary elections," the Congress Vice President said.

Seeking to draw a contrast between the ideologies of Congress and BJP in respect to women's empowerment, Rahul said, "A government has been formed here. This is a battle of ideologies. This is a battle of the thought process.

"In their (BJP) thinking, the women should be worshipped. Goddesses should be worshipped but women should not be empowered. In their view, women should not come out of their homes.

"Our thinking is that they should come out of their homes, run businesses. We want their empowerment...you have to fight not only a battle of power but a battle of ideologies."

He said women are suppressed everywhere -- at home, at work place and outside -- and this situation can be addressed only by change of thinking and not merely by laws and police.

He narrated an incident of Uttar Pradesh where he had seen in the night a man dragging his wife and beating her up for not cooking meal properly.

"The same person calls a woman mother and sister and worships her in the form of a Goddess and then beats his wife. You have to change this," he said.

Referring to rape incidents, he said, "prominent people say 'shame shame' but "Law and police cannot check it. Only women can do it. Do not leave it to the men (to address this problem)".

Sonia, who spoke earlier, said that women empowerment was one of the two priorities of late Rajiv Gandhi, the other being taking the country into the 21st century.

She said Rajiv used to say that no country can move forward by ignoring half of its population, she said.

Listing a number of steps taken by Rajiv Gandhi for women empowerment including reservation for them in panchayats and setting up of a national commission for women, the Congress chief said that the late Prime Minister also wanted that women should get representation in Parliament and Assemblies.

Noting that UPA government took up the issue when it came to power in 2004 and ensured passage of the measure in Rajya Sabha, she said, "Unfortunately the bill could not get passed in Lok Sabha because of some political parties."

"Today, we are in opposition but Congress will not withdraw from its commitment to women's reservation and we will build full pressure on the NDA government to pass the bill as soon as possible," she said.

The 18-year journey of the Women's Reservation Bill has been marked by high drama and roadblocks in each outing in Parliament before the historic measure cleared the first legislative hurdle in March 2010 when Rajya Sabha passed it during a sitting which saw marshals being used. The bill seeks to reserve 33 per cent of the seats in Parliament and legislative Assemblies for women.

Observing that victory and defeat were part of life, she said, "The real thing is that one should stick to principles and Congress has never sacrificed its principles for power...We do not have to leave any stone unturned in bringing back the glory (aan, baan aur shaan) of Congress".

She asked women congress workers to raise the issues of women's exploitation in a big way and help the victims in getting justice from police stations and courts.

Regretting that incidents of female foeticide, domestic violence and rape "make our head hang in shame", she said, "we have to raise our voice against such crimes.

They should come out of depression of defeat, we didn’t sell false dreams but the truth of development: MA Naqvi on Sonia Gandhi

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