Dubbing as "tokenism" Prime Minister Narendra Modi's talk of women empowerment, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today asked him to cut down on rhetoric and focus on action.
In a series of tweets, the Chief Minister listed out initiatives of his government for the welfare of women. "Tokenism Modi ji. Real empowerment comes from real policies.
Yesterday you ridiculed a candlelight march to protest against defenders of child rapists in Kathua & today you pretend to care for Mahila Shakti," he said in a tweet.
Siddaramaiah was responding to Modi's remarks on women empowerment and important portfolios of external affairs and defence being handled by women members of his cabinet.
Reaching out to women ahead of the May 12 Karnataka Assembly polls, Modi said earlier in the day that capable women in his government were given important portfolios.
Modi, while interacting with Karnataka BJP Mahila Morcha workers through the 'Narendra Modi App' pointed at two group photos of the SCO summit in China where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were the only women.
Siddaramaiah, asking the Prime Minister to learn from Karnataka about how to empower women, said his government had made education free for girls from class 1 to post graduation level.
"Bengaluru, the city you ridiculed yesterday, leads the nation with 25 per cent women's participation in the workforce. In Delhi, the city you live in, the rate is 10 per cent. We must be doing something right," he said in another tweet.
Modi, in a blistering attack on the Siddaramaiah government, had told an election rally yesterday that within five years it had turned Bengaluru, which was known as the country's "Silicon Valley", into "a valley of sin", and the "garden city" into "garbage city".
Siddaramaiah said under the 'Matrupoorna' programme, his government was providing mid-day meals to 10 lakh pregnant and lactating mothers so that "motherhood is safe and the child is healthy".
He also wrote that his government amended the law to render child marriage null and void and gave free bus passes to all students, half of whom were girls.
The government, he said, was extending loans to women entrepreneurs at four per cent interest, had set up industrial parks exclusively for them, and received an international award for being the best state for women entrepreneurs.
"We give a revolving fund of Rs 25,000 per group to women SHG (self-help group)," he said.
He also referred to economic empowerment schemes for sex workers, HIV positive women, transgenders, and introduction of Pink Hoysala vehicles for women in distress.
The Siddaramaiah government launched Pink Hoysala vehicles last year which patrol the streets of the state capital to ensure the safety of women and children.
"There are many more. Dear@narendramodi ji let us cut Bhashan & promote Action," he tweeted.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|