Rahul Gandhi, head of India’s main opposition party Congress, on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his support to help pass a long-pending parliamentary bill for reservation of seats for women in parliament and state legislatures.
Separately, in a post on his Twitter account, Rahul Gandhi offered the “unconditional support” of his Congress party. The Bill, which seeks to reserve one third of the seats in parliament and legislatures in states for women, was passed by the Rajya Sabha, the upper House of parliament, in 2010 but is yet to clear the Lok Sabha, the lower House whose members are elected directly by the people in parliamentary polls. “I write to you to request your support to ensure the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament,” Gandhi wrote in his letter to Modi.
The Bill was tabled and stalled in the Lok Sabha, lower House of parliament, for over eight years due to “one pretext or the other”, Gandhi wrote and added that the Bharatiya Janata Party appeared to have second thoughts about the bill, though it was one of its key promises in its 2014 election manifesto.
“Mr. Prime Minister, in many of your public rallies you have spoken about your passion for empowering women and involving them more meaningfully in public life. What better way to demonstrate your commitment to the cause of women than by offering your unconditional support to the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill? And what better time, than the upcoming session of Parliment? Any further delay will make it impossible to implement before the next general elections,” Gandhi wrote.
In a Twitter post, Rahul wrote: “Our PM says he’s a crusader for women’s empowerment? Time for him to rise above party politics, walk-his-talk & have the Women’s Reservation Bill passed by Parliament. The Congress offers him its unconditional support.”
New Delhi Correspondent