Varun for women's bill

BJP parliamentarian Varun Gandhi has pushed for the passage of the women's reservation bill, saying political power continues to be a "male fiefdom", appearing to put his own party to test and lobbying for the issue after aunt Sonia Gandhi wrote to the Prime Minister.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 13.10.17
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New Delhi, Oct. 12: BJP parliamentarian Varun Gandhi has pushed for the passage of the women's reservation bill, saying political power continues to be a "male fiefdom", appearing to put his own party to test and lobbying for the issue after aunt Sonia Gandhi wrote to the Prime Minister.

"Tokenism prevails in the struggle for widening the enfranchisement of women in India. Political parties nominate female candidates (some elected and then awarded position of responsibilities) but at a broader level, political power continues to be a male fiefdom," Varun has written in an article published in Hindustan Times today titled "We have no time to loose on women's quota bill".

"A bill like this would be capstone to decades of struggle by India's women for equality," the MP added, referring to the women's reservation bill.

Congress president Sonia had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month urging him to ensure expeditious passage of the bill, which promises 33 per cent reservation for women in legislative bodies. Sonia had assured her party's support for the bill.

"I am writing to request you to take advantage of your majority in the Lok Sabha to now get the women's reservation bill passed in the Lower House as well," Sonia had written.

Although the BJP refrained from reacting officially to Varun's article, several leaders felt the young MP from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh was trying to put the party in a spot, following in the footsteps of his aunt.

The BJP had viewed Sonia's letter as an effort to take credit for the passage of the bill even if the Modi government got it passed in the Lok Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha passed the bill on March 9, 2010. However, the Lok Sabha never voted on the bill and it lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

Varun has been sidelined in the BJP's current dispensation and many in the party feel he could be denied a nomination in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The MP has recently written articles in newspapers that have not gone down well with the party leadership.

In one of the articles, Varun had supported providing asylum to Rohingya Muslim refugees on humanitarian grounds. The government wants to deport around 40,000 Rohingya people to Myanmar, where the community is facing ethnic cleansing.