SAD MP was speaking in Parliament over the bill introduced by Govt
Chandigarh, September 20, 2023 (Yes Punjab News)
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal today gave a clarion call for implementing the Women Reservation Bill from the next parliamentary election even as she questioned the urgency behind bringing the bill in parliament on the eve of the next election if it was to be implemented after five to seven years after conduct of the census and delimitation exercises.
Speaking on the bill in parliament on behalf of the SAD, the former union minister boldly questioned as to why the census had been delayed for the first time ever by two years on the pretext of the Covid pandemic when other countries including China and the United Kingdom had conducted the same exercise in their countries. “Even now there is no clarity on when the census and delimitation will occur”, she said asking the central government to explain the urgency behind bringing in the bill now when it had promised women reservation in 2014.
“What was the government doing since the last nine and half years?”, she asked adding the lack of a timeline to implement women reservation had put the BJP government in the same dock as previous ones who had also resorted to ‘jumlabazi’ on this issue to seek the votes of women.
Mrs Harsimrat Badal also termed the reasons being touted to delay implementation of the bill for years together as mere excuses. “If the country can implement ‘notebandi’ and ‘lockdown’ in minutes why can’t it implement women reservation with immediate effect?” she asked.
She also gave details as to how there was only a nine per cent increase in women MPs from the 24 in the first Lok Sabha to 78 now. “Eleven out of thirteen MPs are men in this house even as fifty percent of our legislative assemblies don’t have any women representative” she said, while stressing the need to correct this imbalance immediately.
Asserting that women reservation was the need of the hour, Mrs Badal said global indicators also made a firm case for implementing this immediately. She cited how the global equality index 2022 had ranked India 122 out of 164 nations even as the global gender gap report of 2023 had ranked India 127 out of 146 countries behind Bhutan and Nepal. She also cited that even though crime against women had increased by 26 per cent in the last five years there was no discussion on it.
“We have also seen how no action was taken in the Manipur gang rape case for three months with the central government breaking its silence only after a no confidence motion was moved in parliament”. She said similarly a Haryana minister continued to enjoy cabinet status despite being accused of sexual assault, women wrestlers were forced to sit in dharna for months even as their tormenter sat in parliament and the rapist of Bilkis Bano was called ‘sanskari’ and honoured on stages.
Mrs Badal also pointed out how 306 members of parliament had serious cases pending against them including those of rape, murder and kidnapping. “As many as 45 per cent of these members are from the ruling party”, she asserted.
The Bathinda MP also spoke on how the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which was the only democratically elected religious body in the world, had given voting rights to women at its inception in 1925. She said this was because Sikhism believed in equality. “Our first Guru stressed on women literacy even as the second and third Gurus spoke against Sati, female foeticide and dowry”.