DMK women\'s meet Dubs women\'s bill a Poll gimmick

Stalin criticizes BJP on Women\'s Reservation Bill implementation

Chennai: The BJP needed to be defeated in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections at any cost and it could be done only if the opposition parties were united, raising above minor differences, Chief Minister M K Stalin said on Saturday.

Addressing the well-attended Women’s Rights Conference at the YMCA Ground in Nandanam, Stalin said the BJP was cheating people by passing the Women’s Reservation Bill for namesake and then saying that it would be possible to implement it immediately without mentioning when it could be done.

He told the women leaders, representing a wide range of political parties that are part of the INDIA alliance and the two leading Communist parties, who addressed the conference, to appraise their leadership about the need for unity among the parties.

BJP was coming up with stories like the conditions that would be laid in mythical tales asking people to cross seven seas or circumvent seven continents to get something because the party did not want women to be heard in Assemblies and Parliament, he said.

The Prime Minister, when being told that the Bill that was passed in Parliament did not provide reservation for women belonging to the BC or minority communities, was accusing the opposition of seeking to divide the country on caste lines, he said.

Vowing to never give up on the fight for social justice, he said that the INDIA coalition that had been formed by various parties in the country was not an electoral alliance but a coming together of parties on the basis of principles.

Welcoming former Congress president Sonia Gandhi to the conference, organized by the women’s wing of the DMK to commemorate the centenary of M Karunanidhi, he recalled how the UPA had won elections in the past with the DMK being a part of it.

Karunanidhi had wanted Sonia Gandhi to become the Prime Minister and when he had passed away, the Congress leaders wrote to him saying that it was a personal loss for her and that Karuanidhi was like a father for her.

Even Indira Gandhi had the support of Karunanidhi, who had put out the famous slogan, ‘Nehruvin Maghale Vaa, Nilayana Atchi That (Welcome Nehru’s daughter, Give us a stable government), he said to drive home the point that such instances of unity between different parties had helped win elections in the past.

Acknowledging that Tamil Nadu was a beacon for women’s rights, Sonia Gandhi, in her speech, lauded the various contributions of Karunanidhi towards gender justice and said that it was he who first provided for women’s reservation in the police department, whose forces now comprise of 40 per cent women.

She recounted the manner in which the reservation bill moved by the UPA government was defeated in the Lok Sabha though the Rajya Sabha had already passed it and said that the 33 per cent reservation for women provided in the local bodies by Rajiv Gandhi through the Panchayat Raj Act formed the basis for the Bill.

Expressing the hope that the INDIA alliance would create an atmosphere for ushering in equality of women and also implement the Women’s Reservation Bill, she, too, spoke about putting up the fight unitedly with all parties coming together.

She quoted Jawaharlal Nehru who said ‘if you educate a man you educate an individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a family,’ to drive home the point that the Congress had traditionally favored women’s rights and education.

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehooba Mufti, said women faced the same problems in society irrespective of their economic, educational and social backgrounds and all have to work hard in their areas.

He took on the BJP government for the price rise and said that it affected women more than anybody else and said that the government was indulging in diversionary tactics to cover up its mistakes.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi referred to the question raised by Periyar E V Ramsamy over a 100 years ago on how women became slaves (Penn En Adimai Aanal) and the articles that he wrote to elucidate on the question and said that his question was still relevant.

She also stressed on the need for unity among the parties to put an end to the BJP rule and said that ‘we should all stand as one.’

DMK deputy general secretary Kanimozhi Karunanidhi said that there was protection for women under the BJP rule in the country and mentioned several instances like the percentage of working women in the country coming down after 2014 and other specific cases like the way the women’s wrestlers were treated. ‘Should the present government continue,’ she asked.

Other leaders who spoke were Subhashini Ali of the CPM, Annie Raja of the CPI, Supriya Sule of the NCP, Dimple Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, Bihar Minister Leshi Singh of the JD(U), Sushmita Dev of TMC and Rakhi Bilden of AAP.

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