Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K Kavitha said on Thursday that she would hold a peaceful sit-down protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on March 10 to demand the tabling of the Women’s Reservation Bill in this session of Parliament.
Kavitha, the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, invited representatives from women’s organisations and political parties that believe in women’s rights and empowerment to take part in the protest under the aegis of her NGO Bharat Jagruthi.
“Today, we all know that the importance of the Women’s Reservation Bill is being acknowledged worldwide. When women enter leadership roles, democracy gets better served. Whenever women have gotten any chance at leadership, they have always proved themselves,” she said.
Kavitha pointed out that in 1992, the 72nd constitutional amendment gave 33 per cent reservation to women in local bodies, and the 73rd amendment in 1993 gave 33 per cent reservation to women in urban local bodies. “Yet, the Women’s Reservation Bill seeking 33 per cent representation in Parliament and assemblies continues to be pending for 27 years, after first being introduced in 1996,” she said.
Though four committees were formed to look into the matter, “nothing was ever done”, she said. “Bills were tabled in 1996, 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2010 (passed only in Rajya Sabha) but they lapsed. Given the history, it has taken 27 years, yet nothing has happened. If we look at the numbers in the first Lok Sabha in 1952, we have 24 women MPs. Today, we have 78 women MPs. In 75 years of Independence, our growth in this regard has not been exponential. If we want to grow at par with other nations, we demand that the Women’s Reservation Bill be introduced in this session of Parliament,” she said.
Reminding the BJP of its manifesto promise from the 2014 and 2019 general elections, Kavitha said, “We demand that the poll promise that you made to the people of this nation both in the 2014 and 2019 elections, you must now act upon it. Table the Women’s Reservation Bill in this Parliament session or the next one.”
Kavitha also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he speaks about ‘Nari Shakti’ from the Red Fort “but does nothing for women’s empowerment, which the country has understood”. Given the majority that the BJP enjoys in Parliament, the party can push for and pass the Women’s Reservation Bill if they were willing to do the same, she alleged.
Speaking about the vision of the BRS on the issue, Kavitha said the party has passed a resolution in the Telangana Assembly stating that whenever the Lok Sabha passes the bill, the BRS will support it. Telangana CM KCR had also proposed an alternative, suggesting an increment in the number of MP seats by 33 per cent to accommodate women, paving the way for the soft passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill, she added.
“The Women’s Reservation Bill will be a step towards building a more inclusive space that has fair representation and participation of women from all walks of life. People always believe that if you target a woman personally, she will cower down. We are brave, much more than men; they try to test us and they fail and they, unfortunately, never learn their lesson,” she said.
Kavitha also weighed in on the increasing gender parity gap. “If the government wants India to become a superpower, it cannot keep half its population (women) at home,” she said.
She also welcomed the Supreme Court verdict on the selection of the election commissioner. “It is a welcome move. Finally, the Election Commission has been freed from the clutches of the BJP and Narendra Modi,” she said.