What statement were you making by riding a Harley Davidson to Parliament?
I used to ride a bike in Bihar, I used to play tennis in shorts. I have always been like that. But I had some hesitation coming to Parliament on a bike. Today is Women’s Day, I thought someone has to break that tradition. I feel good. All women, you and I, after a point of time, stop thinking about ourselves… We keep forgetting what we want.
Why this particular bike?
I was saying the bike is very expensive. My son asked me how old I am. I said I am 40-plus. His reaction was, ‘Even now you are just thinking about it? You earn and you should be able to do what you want’. This encouraged me.
The PM recently proposed that Women’s Day be dedicated to women speakers in Parliament, Do you agree?
If he had consulted women MPs before making the suggestion, it would have been better. This is another discrimination: why should women get only one day to speak? It is not gender equality if women MPs are not given time on the other days. All these celebrations are just for the sake of doing them… If we are capable, we should get an opportunity every day.
Women MPs have revived the debate on women’s reservation.
We have to take care of so many things if the bill is implemented. First of all, reservation is not a solution to lack of women empowerment. While granting reservation, it should be kept in mind that the kith and kin of women MPs do not enter Parliament or local bodies, and the benefit should go to women who actually need reservation for uplift. There are women sarpanchs who have no powers. I don’t want to contest from a reserved seat, because I am not a weak person and I am capable of fighting a man… There has to be a quota for SCs, STs and weaker sections.
You also raised the issue of freedom of speech.
Under this government, people belong to two categories — those who are nationalists and those who are not. You cannot dictate what one can say and cannot. The HRD minister tried to link my recommendation letter for admission to the Rohith Vemula issue. It’s a sensitive issue. How can you compare? Being an MP, I can write letters to the minister and the minister can decide which one she wants to take action on.