Lady MLCs speak up
Patna: The Legislative Council on Thursday saw women leaders highlight gender issues - from women's safety to representation in lawmaking bodies - on the occasion of International Women's Day.
RJD legislature party leader and former chief minister Rabri Devi asserted on Thursday that women were not safe in the country, and requested the state and central governments to ensure their safety.
Speaking on the occasion of International Women's Day in the Legislative Council, Rabri pointed out the grey areas on which governments should pay attention.
"Women are not safe in the country. There is always a lack of respect for them at home and outside. But we should focus on checking atrocities against them, especially those committed against Dalit women," Rabri said.
The RJD leader, who was catapulted to state and national level politics by her husband and party chief Lalu Prasad and thrice became the chief minister of Bihar expressed grave concerns about increasing incidents of rape and kidnapping of minor girls, including toddlers.
"The state and central governments should pay attention and take steps to stop this. Women are moving forward continuously, but still not in the numbers in which they should come up. They should be encouraged, and they should be provided security and safety," Rabri said.
She claimed that women first got elected in large numbers in panchayat polls during her tenure as chief minister.
"Around 40,000 women were elected to the panchayats during our time," Rabri said.
Social welfare minister Kumari Manju Verma requested all parties to come together to ensure that 33 per cent seats in Parliament are reserved for women. "Our sisters have got elected to Assembly, Council and local self-government bodies," the minister said in the Council.
"It's time we should now get 33 per cent reservation in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. All parties should pitch for it."
JDU MLC Reena Devi, who was the first one in the Council to raise the issue, sang paeans about the welfare schemes launched by chief minister Nitish Kumar for women.
The addresses by the three women MLCs also saw some banter as deputy chairman Harun Rashid told Reena that women have freedom everywhere, right from their homes to the legislature.