Maharashtra cabinet rejig: No place for women angers activists
Rights activists have expressed disappointment over the Eknath Shinde government in Maharashtra failing to induct women into the cabinet which was expanded on Tuesday after 41 days.
Eighteen MLAs, including state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Chandrakant Patil, were sworn in as cabinet ministers at Raj Bhavan in south Mumbai.
The list doesn't include women, a move being panned by politicians and women's rights activists.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule said not inducting women shows the "BJP's mindset".
Maharashtra was the first state in the country to give the reservation for women. When 50 per cent of India's population is women, they are not represented in the state cabinet. This shows the BJP's mindset, said Sule.
As the controversy raged, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said women will get appropriate representation in the next round of cabinet expansion.
The objection that there is no woman minister in the newly-formed cabinet will be addressed soon. Women members will be inducted in the next cabinet expansion for sure. Earlier, people were critical over (the delay) in expanding the cabinet government, now they have come up with something new. Women representatives will get appropriate representation in our cabinet," Fadnavis said.
Activist Trupti Desai of Bhumata Brigade, who had spearheaded a protest for women's entry at the Shani temple in the Ahmednagar district in 2016, expressed disappointment over not a single woman legislator finding a place in the Shinde cabinet.
This is an insult to women in general in the progressive state like Maharashtra, she alleged.
Social activist Kiran Moghe said not inducting women is "shocking", especially when the country is celebrating 75 years of Independence.
"I wonder that they did not find any capable woman who can be inducted in the cabinet," Moghe said in Pune. Former bureaucrat and lawyer Abha Singh took a dig at the BJP over women finding no place in the new cabinet. "'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' is the motto of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP, but they should also make a daughter a minister," she said.
Singh said there is a huge difference between what one preaches and practices.
There is a great difference in what you speak and what you do. Your actions speak for you. You have not made any woman a minister in your cabinet which is a fact. This shows that you don't have any regard for women's talent or for women in general, she said.
Citing the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2021, Singh said India's position has slipped by 28 points to 140 among 156 countries under the Modi government. India's ranking is worse than Bangladesh and Pakistan in the absence of political and social empowerment of women.
In the erstwhile Uddhav Thackeray-led tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi government, Varsha Gaikwad, Yashomati Thakur, and Aditi Tatkare had served as ministers.