Interacts with 230 women reps from across the country, seeks views for manifesto
BHOPAL: Aimed at gearing up the party for next national polls, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had a free- wheeling discussion with selected 230 women including NGO workers to collect their suggestions for the party manifesto at old Vidhan Sabha building here.
Referring to the importance of woman empowerment in the country, Gandhi said his grandmother was the boss of the house even there were several other members in the family. The women do not need protection if they are given their right place. ” If a woman is empowered as it was in my home, the country would change,” Rahul said. He said the country cannot be a superpower without giving equal opportunity to women who feel comfortable in the society. Gandhi said he learnt from women of Uttar Pradesh and his parliamentary seat Amethi who transformed their lives by self- help groups.
National woman Congress president Shobha Oza conducted the proceedings. “Ten lakh women changed their life by taking active part in SHGs in Uttar Pradesh,” the Congress vice president said. A NGO worker, who arrived from Kerala, demanded not to reduce subsidy on LPG cylinders and sought assurance from the Congress vice president that the UPA in it third won’t remove the subsidy provision.
Gandhi however, only replied that he would look into it. Hearing Gandhi’s talk about women empowerment and equal rights, a female advocate from Gujarat said she heard such things for last 25 years but nothing had changed. Rahul said the government provided 50 percent reservation to women in panchayat and equal wage in MNREGA to women. Now 33 percent quota for women in legislative assemblies and the Parliament is next step the Congress would take for women empowerment. “Wait for 5-10 years, you will see that half of chief ministers will be women,” he said.
An Aaganwasi worker from Maharashtra demanded pension and status of government employee and said they are not given timely honorarium. Another woman Nurjahan of Gujarat, said the women of minority community are not invited to political programmes. Only their religious leaders are invited. The minorities are facing the worst situation in Gujarat. One more NGO worker from Bhabhra of Madhya Pradesh said the Panchayat Raj was nothing but shops for ministers. She said she approached for jobs to disabled persons but ‘maternal uncle’ Shivraj Singh did not do justice. Child right activist and head of Gulabi gang, Sampat Bai said they will support Rahul as candidate for prime minister.
CONGRESS DEFEATS CONGRESS
Interacting with the losers of Assembly polls and Congress office- bearers at the PCC office, Rahul Gandhi said that he knows that the Congress defeats itself and that has happened consecutively for the third time in Madhya Pradesh. Senior leaders are responsible for this. He, however, asked the workers to pull their socks and start working for success in LS polls.
Sex workers, eunuchs also invited
Rahul talked with sex workers, gay rights activist and transgender persons. Gay rights activist and eunuch Laxmi Narayan Tripathi said the government should form board for transgender persons. She said any political party had for the first time dared to call eunuchs in any programme and get their suggestions. A sex worker Annu from Mumbai said, sex workers should be given government support so that they can leave their profession,
” Empowering women is a big battle that we have to fight and win,” said Rahul adding that in next five to ten years, nearly half of Congress ministers will be women. Congress vicepresident said every woman is an asset to this country and if the India has to become superpower, women empowerment is the only way to it.
Grandma was the boss
” I want to tell you my perspective… In my house, there was papa ( Rajiv Gandhi), there was uncle ( Sanjay Gandhi) but the boss of the house was my dadi.There was no doubt about that.Grandma was the boss,” he said with a chuckle.