The BJP held a massive rally in the capital to demand 33 per cent reservation for women in the legislature. The overwhelming response to the rally demonstrated that the party has ignited hopes in the minds of millions of women voters.
For long the UPA has been making bogus promises on women reservation even though most of its constituents are totally opposed to the idea. This exposes the double-talk of the ruling alliance.
The rally was organised by the BJP Mahila Morcha at Ramlila Ground in Delhi on February 21, 2008, where more than one lakh women from each nook and corner of the country participated and demanded in the presence of NDA'sprime ministerial candidate Shri L.K. Advani and party president Shri Rajnath Singh to table 33 per cent reservation in the next Budget session of the Parliament. The Ramlila Ground bore a saffron look and most of the women participants were attired in their traditional garb from their respective states like Andaman Nicobar, Pondocherry, Goa, Arunachal, Manipur, Assam, Orissa etc. Outside the Ramlila Ground also there was a massive crowd of Indian women representing BJP.
Seeing is believing. Of course, one can see their enthusiasm, their spirit and their commitment towards the party and the nation as the women workers of the party raised the slogans for women empowerment. BJP chief could not believe that it was a congregation of large crowd of only women, so in his speech Shri Rajnath Singh mindfully had to address ?beheno? but sometimes also he forgot and addressed that ?bhaio aur behen?. The party chief having seen the large crowd of women workers became very emotional. The rally ground was literally turned into a women zone. One of the women in the rally said openly that it was the BJP who created awareness among the women for empowerment and the party has rightly ignited the minds of the women about their rights. BJP'sMahila Morcha national president Kiran Maheshwari, MP from Rajasthan, who organised the first ever biggest women rally at the national level said that the BJP has come forward with the commitment for empowerment of women by reserving 33 per cent for the women in the organisational level, and it would give a moral support to the women countrywide. The party also aired the recorded speech of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee in the conclave.
Leader of Opposition Shri L.K. Advani addressing the massive crowd of women demanded Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to introduce 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament. Shri Advani has assured that the BJP would support any initiative of the government in this context.
Attacking the UPA government, he pointed that the Common Minimum Programme of the UPA did not utter a word about the welfare of women.
He reminded the mammoth women rally that the NDA government led by Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee had implemented several welfare schemes for the betterment of womenfolk and initiated various measures to empower them socially, politically and economically.
Shri Advani said that the Constitution-makers never opposed providing voting rights to women. But, the situation was different in the developed countries. Women in the United Kingdom battled for voting rights and several women activists made sacrifices to achieve their demand. The English police used to arrest the women fighting for their voting rights and even used to forcibly feed them.
After a long struggle, it was only in 1918 that women in the UK were granted voting rights. However, the discrimination against women continued for many more years. While a male got the voting right at the age of 21, women were allowed to vote only on the attainment of 30 years age. Shri Advani said that women in India have never been discriminated in such a manner as has been seen in other developed nations.
Talking about 33 per cent reservation provided to women in the party hierarchy, Shri Singh said that it is the culture of Bharat to respect women and that is why BJP granted 33 per cent reservation for women. BJP national president Shri Rajnath Singh demanded that 33 per cent reservation should be provided to women forthwith in Parliament and state assemblies.
He said the BJP has been demanding women reservation for long and had made sincere efforts to implement it.
Expressing solidarity to the 33 per cent women reservation, BJP former national president Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu assured his fullest support to achieve this demand. He reminded the audience that a formal decision for reservation within the party structure was taken at the BJP Baroda National Executive meet and today things have finally taken up a concrete shape.
BJP senior leader Smt. Sushma Swaraj demanded that the women must be provided 33 per cent reservation and their quota must be ensured in the coming general elections.
?I have seen thousands of rallies held in Ramlila Maidan. But, for the first time I am seeing such a massive women rally.? she said.
BJP has provided 33 per cent reservation to women in the party hierarchy. A time has come to demand the same reservation in Parliament and state assemblies without any further delay, she said.
The Women Reservation Bill is pending for the past 12 years. In 1986 the first proposal came up. The NDA government tried twice to enact Women Reservation Bill but some vested interested in political parties thwarted the efforts.
The Congress-led UPA government did not make any attempt to introduce the Bill. ?Even the draft bill is not ready,? she alleged.
Smt Sushma Swaraj said that this is an anokhi (unique) as well as anoothi (majestic) rally. She said the women participants were uttejit and utshahit which means enthused and agitated at the same time. Their enthusiasm is because of the reservation that they have got in the party organisation and their agitation is against the reservation that they have not got in the Parliament and state assemblies.
She stated that the women have come to express their abhar (gratitude) and aakrosh which means gratitude and anger. ?The women are expressing their gratitude and anger in this rally. Gratitude towards the leaders of their party and anger against the government which has failed to bring the Bill in the Parliament.?