New Delhi, Feb 21: With its eye firmly on the women vote bank, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held a massive women's rally here on Thursday seeking the tabling of a bill seeking 33 per cent reservation for women in Indian Parliament during the budget session.
Around 100,000 women workers from all over the country participated in the rally addressed by BJP's senior leader Lal Krishna Advani, President Rajnath Singh, and other senior leaders. The BJP recently cleared 33 per cent reservation for women in the party. It has sought to turn the tables on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government, which has failed to table the bill during its four year rule, despite the fact that it was part of the Common Minimum Programme of the coalition. "I advice Dr Manmohan Singh not to carry on with this kind of discrimination. These women are putting forward their demands through this rally. I advice him not to delay this matter. This should be introduced during the President's address and the bill should be passed during the budget session. The Government has BJP'S support for this," said Advani.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj was also present on the occasion to boost the morale of hundreds of women who had gathered here for the cause.
"From Andaman to Tripura and from Kashmir to Kutch, women from various parts of the country participated in the rally seeking reservation in the Legislative Assemblies and the Parliament, which the BJP has already endorsed. We have adopted this democratic way to show our strength and put forward our demand," Swaraj said.
Political parties have been divided on the issue of affirmative action reserving seats for women in Parliament and State Legislative bodies.
The bill to provide reservation for women in Lok Sabha has been pending since 1996.
Successive Governments have placed it on the floor of the House, only to shelve it in the absence of a political consensus.
In over 50 years of independence, the percentage of women in the lower house of the parliament has increased from 4.4 to 8.8, a figure that continues to be lower than the 15 per cent average for countries with elected legislatures.