All-India Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza on Thursday said the unprecedented rise in onion prices was the main reason for her party’s debacle in the recent Assembly elections in four States, including Delhi.

Addressing presspersons at the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office here, Ms. Oza alleged that an artificial scarcity of onions was created in north India where the prices even crossed Rs. 100 a kilogram. “Prices came down and stabilised soon after the polling. As people of north India are very sensitive about onions and their prices, it reflected in the election results,” she said, admitting this was a major setback for the party.

Ms. Oza is in the city to participate in the All India Mahila Congress’s Executive Committee meeting to be held on December 13.

Lauding the Karnataka government’s efforts in setting up fast track courts to deal with cases pertaining to women, Ms. Oza said other States should emulate Karnataka and set up similar courts to ensure speedy disposal of cases related to atrocities against women.

The Congress was committed towards empowering women socially, economically, politically and legally. The party’s efforts in getting the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha indicated the party’s commitment, she said. Ms. Oza, who said no party could give 33 per cent reservation to women in the absence of a rule, said at least five women from Karnataka would be given ticket in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

“If the Bill is passed in the Lok Sabha before the elections, there is no doubt that our party will give 33 per cent reservation for women. But if it does not come by then, we are sure of giving 5 to 10 per cent of ticket for women. But we will ask for more. Our party has already given 50 per cent reservation to women in the local bodies, which no other party has done,” she said.

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