New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha was on Thursday adjourned till Friday after members of different political parties including the TDP and the AIADMK trooped near the Chairman’s podium raking up issues of concern from their states. Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien adjourned the House, minutes after it met at 2 p.m., as the protesting members gathered near the podium, shouting slogans and carrying placards. TDP and AIADMK members were also raising their demands.
The House witnessed similar scenes in the morning after a brief discussion on International Women’s Day, forcing its adjournment till 2. Soon after the House met in the morning, Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu greeted the women members and through them all the women across the country and allowed members to speak on issues concerning women.
Naidu expressed hope that the government will respect the sentiments of the House and take care of the unfulfilled agendas of women empowerment. He said the Women’s Reservation Bill should be accorded top priority and urged the political parties to refrain from politicising the issue. He also expressed his concerns over gender equality, safety of women and discrimination against the girl child.
“With women constituting about 50 per cent of our population, social, economic and political empowerment of women, including providing reservation in Parliament and state legislatures, has to be accorded top priority to achieve rapid progress,” Naidu said. Congress member Ambika Soni urged the House to pass a resolution to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies. She was supported by fellow women members including Renuka Chowdhury, Kumari Shailja, Rajni Patil and K. Kanimozhi.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj mentioned the achievements of women in different fields and urged the members and the people of the country to take the pledge of women safety and providing justice to them. “Women’s Reservation Bill is important. But there are achievements by women even without reservation.” The Minister said India was a country where women had become President, Prime Minister and twice the Speaker of a House.
“Today, women are doing combat duty in the Army, flying planes in the air force. But there are crimes against women which bring shame to us. Which is why this day is one on which we should take a pledge to end such crimes,” she said. Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad supported the long pending demand for women reservation and sought stringent action against those who rape.
Speaking for the government, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said the Modi government had taken up many programmes for women empowerment. But he gave no assurance on Women’s Reservation Bill. As soon as the debate ended, members from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu rushed towards the Chairman’s podium. Sensing the situation, Naidu adjourned the House till 2 p.m. The Rajya Sabha has been witnessing ruckus on a range of issues being raised by the Congress, the TDP and the AIADMK. The Budget session will conclude on April 6.