BRS leader K Kavitha announced a day-long hunger strike in the national capital on Friday to press the demand for the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill.
Addressing the media, Kavitha -- the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao -- said the bill has been lying in cold storage since 2010 and the Modi government has a historic opportunity to get its passed in Parliament before 2024.
The hunger strike will be held by her NGO Bharat Jagriti, she said and added all political parities have been invited to join it.
So far, 18 parties, including the CPI-M and the Shiv Sena, have confirmed their participation.
"About 500-600 members will sit on a hunger strike, but the attendance will be much more. More than 6,000 people and 18 political parties have confirmed their participation," she said.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury will inaugurate the programme at 10 am.
The bill, which seeks to reserve 33 per cent seats in Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies for women, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in May 2008 and was referred to a standing committee. In 2010, it was passed in the House and transmitted finally to the Lok Sabha. However, the bill lapsed with the 15th Lok Sabha.
Kavitha said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised in both 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls that his government would bring this bill and that it was also part of the BJP's election manifesto, she said.
None of the BJP leaders raised this issue and the Modi government has failed to get this bill passed in Parliament despite having a majority, she said, and added, "This is very saddening issue." The world is progressing only by taking women on equal footing with men. This unfortunately has not happened in India.
"I want to urge PM, all political leaders and especially President Droupadi Murmu and request the Government of India that it still has an opportunity as two more Parliament sessions are there (before the next election for passage of this bill)," she said.
The Modi government, if it wishes, can get the Women's Reservation Bill passed just like the Aadhaar Bill which was passed by it as a financial bill and by bypassing the Rajya Sabha, she added.
Further, Kavitha said that India is at the 148th place among 193 countries in terms of women's representation. There are only 78 women members out of 543 in Parliament, which is 14.4 per cent.
Unfortunately it is very less than the global average. In neighbouring Pakistan, there is 17 per cent reservation for women and their representation in Bangladesh is higher than India, she said. PTI LUX SMN
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