Congress President, Rahul Gandhi delivering a speech at an event. (Source: PTI)

Rahul Gandhi Rakes Up Women’s Reservation Bill; BJP Sees Double Standards

Congress President Rahul Gandhi today raked up the contentious issue of Women's Reservation Bill, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “walk his talk” by ensuring its passage, just two days ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

“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,” Gandhi said in a tweet along with a letter to Modi. “The Congress offers him its unconditional support.”

The Rajya Sabha had passed the constitutional amendment bill on March 9, 2010 to facilitate reserving one-third of total seats in state assemblies and Parliament for women, but the Lok Sabha never voted on it and the proposed legislation lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

The Congress chief urged Modi to ensure that the bill gets passed in the upcoming session itself so that women can participate “more meaningfully” in the state elections later this year and in the Lok Sabha polls next year.

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?
Rahul Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress

Gandhi added that any further delay in passing the bill would make it impossible to implement before the general elections in 2019.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party was quick to accuse the opposition party of adopting a “double standard” by siding with those who were opposed to the bill. It asked that whether the Congress could assure support of its allies, in an apparent reference to parties like Lalu Prasad Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party.

“It is Congress which is sitting with those opposed to the bill. It is Congress which is in alliance with those who had opposed the Women's Reservation Bill,” said senior BJP leader and union minister Prakash Javadekar. “So will now Congress come out of the alliance or will it get the letters of support from those parties?”

Javadekar added that the the BJP had supported the bill when it was introduced during the Congress rule.

Watch this conversation with Sushmita Dev, President - All India Mahila Congress and Congress MP and Raman Malik, BJP spokesperson.