The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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DMK wives hit streets for quota

Chennai, Sept. 15: The women of the DMK’s “first family” today took to the streets of Chennai to try and put more women in the country’s legislatures.

Party president M. Karunanidhi’s wife Rajathi Ammal, his daughter and poet Kanimozhi and daughter-in-law Durga Stalin led a march by the DMK women’s wing to press for 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and Assemblies.

None of the three women have ever been in active politics or attended rallies or marches.

Thousands of women DMK workers from across Tamil Nadu poured into Chennai today for the march. They waved their hands at Karunanidhi, party general secretary K. Anbazhagan and treasurer Arcot N. Veerasamy as the leaders egged them on from a makeshift dais at Triplicane in the heart of the city.

The women wore red-and-black saris with a dash of yellow added to symbolise auspiciousness. They chanted slogans and carried placards that asked the Centre not to delay the women’s reservation bill any longer.

“No lethargy any more on this, provide 33 per cent reservation for us in Parliament and state legislatures and grant us equal status,” one of the marchers shouted. “Reservation is our birth right,” screamed another.

Some of the placards highlighted the women’s welfare schemes started by Karunanidhi during his previous stint as chief minister.

The DMK, a key constituent of the United Progressive Alliance government, wants the women’s reservation bill to be passed first in its original form, setting aside 33 per cent of the seats for women in Parliament and Assemblies. The subject of sub-quotas ' for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes and Muslims ' can be taken up later.

Former minister Sarguna Pandian took part in the march, which coincided with the 97th birth anniversary of the party’s founder, C.N. Annadurai.

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