Congress more committed to women reservation than BJP : Spokespers

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New Delhi, Jan 30 (UNI) Dismissing as "eye wash" the decision of the BJP to earmark 33 per cent of its party positions to women, the Congress Party today said it was committed to constitutional amendment to provide for such a reservation for the fair sex in Parliament and state Assemblies.

"We are committed to constitutional amendment as provided for in the Common Minimum Programme. We are working on it, " AICC spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told mediapersons, while pointing out that the Congress wanted to evolve a consensus among the UPA coalition partners on the issue.

"It does not, however, dilute our commitment. Our commitment continues, though we will have to take our allies on board," she said, adding it was the Congress which had first pioneered the idea. "Despite the commitment of the Congress, the Bill has seen various obstacles in the past six years." Ms Natarajan said the proposal of the BJP was only an ''eye wash.'' "Reservation of seat in political party will not ensure reservation in Parliament." Pointing out that reservation would not be there unless seats were earmarked, she said it was a clear case of the BJP reneging on its commitment of providing reservation to women in Parliament and state Assemblies.

In this context, Ms Natarajan said the only way to provide reservation was to bring in a constitutional amendment earmarking 33 per cent of the seats in Parliament and state Assembly. "We stand firmly by our commitment." On the criticism of the BJP that the UPA government had given veto power to the supporting Left parties, she said: "It was a peculiar picturisation." She said the NDA itself was a coalition of 24 parties. The Left was a political force and a very important and legitimate ally of the Congress and ''both the parties together promote secularism.'' Referring to the BJP allegation that the UPA government was soft on terror, Ms Natarjan said "the robust nationalism of the BJP was best expressed by Mr L K Advani's stewardship as the Home Minister which saw the terrorist attack in Parliament and attacks in various temples." "The Congress Party requires no certificate from anybody about its nationalism." Ms Natarajan said adding there was no compromise on the security front.

"It is ironic and contradictory for the BJP to make any charge against the Congress as being soft on terror. It was during the NDA regime that worst terror attacks happened in this country," she said, adding "the Congress government is struggling to overcome many problems created by the BJP government and the NDA government. As a matter of fact, the improvement in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is an example of how the government had worked with great success in fighting against terror." Denouncing the attack made by the BJP and its leaders against the UPA government and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said the government under the stewardship of Dr Manmohan Singh had spectacular record of leadership. It was noteworthy that it had passed significant pieces of legislation such as NREGP, RTI Act, restoration of land to tribals and domestic violence Bill and other such fundamentally important legislation which had already become a principle democratic tool.

Despite many setbacks witnessed, there was a spectacular growth.

"So we reject totally false and unsubstantiated the attack made by the BJP in its Resolution, and call upon it to work as a constitutional and responsible opposition," she said.

UNI SH HS RN1847

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