New Delhi, Sep 19 (PTI) The Congress was never serious about providing reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, the BJP alleged on Tuesday after the government introduced a bill in this regard in the Lower House of Parliament.
The government introduced a constitutional amendment bill to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women, reviving the concept of women's reservation pending for 27 years for want of consensus among parties.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the introduction of the bill in the Lok Sabha shows the "unwavering commitment" of the Narendra Modi government to empower women.
"Sadly, the opposition is unable to digest this. And, what is more shameful is that except tokenism, the Congress has never been serious about women's reservation," he posted on X.
"Either they let legislations lapse or their friendly parties prevented the (women's reservation) bill from being tabled. Their double standards will never be hidden, whatever stunts they try to take credit," Shah said.
Making it the first bill to be introduced in the new Parliament building, the government said it will enable greater participation of women in policy-making at the state and national levels and help achieve the goal of making India a developed country by 2047.
The bill is named Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam.
On X, Shah said that "across the length and breadth of India, people are rejoicing the introduction of the Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam in Parliament".
"It shows the unwavering commitment of the Modi government to empower women," he said.
In another post, Shah said this decision of the Modi government to give rights to "Nari Shakti" of the country will become the main pillar of building a developed and prosperous India in the times to come.
"Be it policy or leadership, India's women power has proved that they are no less than anyone in any field. The Modi government believes that building a strong and self-reliant India is not possible without the support and strength of women power," he said.
BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla alleged that the Congress was "never" serious about empowerment of women.
"On expected lines, Congress and INDI alliance caught between 'apna bill' versus 'bill is dhokha (cheating)' i.e.- take credit or slam PM Modi on Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam-Women's Reservation Bill," he posted on X.
"Fact is that Congress was never serious about empowerment of women," Poonawalla said.
The BJP spokesperson alleged that the Congress did nothing between 2010 and 2014 to "placate" the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal over the women's reservation bill as their support was "essential" to running the UPA-2.
"Hence, on their (RJD and SP) instance they (Congress) backtracked," he charged.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur hailed the prime minister for the introduction of the bill and said the government's decision will provide women their rights "in a true sense".
"India became a witness to a historic moment under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government's policy and decisions," Thakur said on X.
"Thirty-three per cent reservation to women in Parliament will not only boost the morale of women but also motivate them to come forward and increase their participation in politics, social service and nation-building," he said.
Union Minister Smriti Irani wrote on X, "Our Nari Shakti is excelling in every field. India's vision of women-led development is both acknowledged and adopted by the global community."
"The world today recognises that true progress of humanity can only be achieved when women are placed at the forefront," she said.
BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh termed the introduction of the bill in Lok Sabha as "historic" and said the government's move will prove to be a "milestone" in the glorious journey of India towards progress.
"I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji for this. It's a day of pride. The bill will empower crores of women (if passed by Parliament)," he told PTI.
BJP Mahila Morcha national president Vanathi Srinivasan said the introduction of the bill to provide a 33 per cent quota for women's representation in Parliament is a "significant step" towards 'Nari Shakti' which is also 'Rashtra Shakti.'
"Today, September 19, 2023, will be entered in the annals of India's 75-year history in golden letters, as the day when half of the nation's population will get adequate representation in the highest law-making body of the country," she said.
Srinivasan thanked the prime minister for the introduction of the bill in Lok Sabha, saying, "Women's power is the nation's power, and both women and the nation are set to attain greater heights in Amrit Kaal till 2047".