Kavitha strengthens argument against Centre’s Women’s Quota Bill
Representatives from various political parties gathered in Hyderabad on Wednesday to discuss the need for a 33% reservation for women in legislative affairs. The meeting was attended by 13 parties, including JMM, DMK, RJD, Samajwadi Party, CPI, Shiv Sena, AAP, RLD, RSP (Kerala), CPM, VCK Party, Azad Samaj Party, farmer union leaders, women’s organisations, and students. The round table meeting was led by BRS MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha, who called for greater participation of MPs in Parliament to ensure that the government paves the way for the tabling of the Women’s Reservation Bill.
After holding a protest at Jantar Mantar on March 10, Kavitha held a round of discussions to build pressure on the government to pass the long-pending Bill. Speakers at the meeting stressed the need for people to take to the streets to bring Parliament to its knees and ensure greater participation of women in legislative affairs. They also highlighted the patriarchal tendencies that have come in the way of the Bill and the denial of women’s rights even on matters of giving birth and in Parliament.
MP Priyanka Chaturvedi questioned why the government in power cannot table the Bill when the makers of the Constitution ensured that women were given an equal right to vote. RJD MP Prof Manoj Jha emphasized the need for parties to have a strategy whereby issues are raised in Parliament as well as outside, stating that “mass movements bring Parliament to its knees”. The RLD women’s wing chief Pratibha Singh and leader Bhupinder Chaudhary echoed the sentiment of empowering women, particularly those in rural areas who are unaware of discussions taking place on the Bill.
Mahua Maji, MP (Rajya Sabha-JMM), highlighted the abysmally low representation of women in Parliament and called for greater representation as India celebrates Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. The round table meeting was attended by a diverse group of politicians and civil society organizations who came together to discuss ways to move forward with the Women’s Reservation Bill.