‘States where women are empowered are progressing fast’
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has said that the country cannot achieve the status of a superpower without empowering women.
At a women’s convention at the Mahatma Gandhi grounds here on Sunday, he said, “Unless the women of India are empowered, the country can never become a superpower. We want to use your [women’s] strength in the progress of this country.”
He said that the States where women were being empowered were progressing faster than others. The Congress was ready to accommodate more women in the party’s organisational structure as well as in issuing ticket to contest elections, he said.
Noting the high number of men at the convention, Mr. Gandhi said, “The situation is no different in the Congress. Men outnumber women in the party organisation. More men seek ticket to contest elections either to the Legislative Assemblies or the Lok Sabha,” he said.
“We want to give women equal chance in politics. The doors of the Congress are open to women. We want to open doors for women. Doors of schools, hospitals and Parliament, as without you, there is no progress.” He appealed more women to contest elections to panchayat, the Assembly, and Parliament. “We want to experiment mahila shakti,” he said.
In a wield attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Mr. Gandhi said the Opposition did not respect women and their “ideological organisation” had no place for them.
On the issue of crime against women, Mr. Gandhi said the Congress had passed a stringent law against sexual assault. “Don’t fear when you go to the city in the evenings and in buses. I want your [women] representation in all sectors with safety, freedom and no fear,” he said.
In his 30-minute speech, Mr. Gandhi referred to the self-help group model of Congress-governed Karnataka, which had been adopted in Uttar Pradesh. More than 20 lakh SHGs had been provided with bank linkages in Karnataka, he said. Referring to the Women’s Reservation Bill, he expressed the hope it would be passed in the Lok Sabha.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara addressed the convention.