Bhubaneswar: Playing the women card ahead of general elections, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Thursday wrote to chief ministers of all states and Union Territories (UTs) seeking their support for 33 per cent reservation of seats for women in Parliament and state assemblies.
Naveen has written to his counterparts following his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate measures to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament.
“The support of chief ministers in giving rightful place to women in society will give a new direction towards women empowerment,” Patnaik wrote in letters to CMs.
Stating that women have a major role to play in building the nation and society, he said, “Empowerment of women is the empowerment of the nation. No household, no society, no state, no country has ever moved forward without empowering its women.”
“Women constitute half of India’s population. Hence, their active participation in policy-making decision will further strengthen our democratic system,” he said.
Citing the example of former chief minister Biju Patnaik, he said, Biju Babu was the first leader in India to implement 33 per cent reservation for women in the panchayats, urban local bodies (ULBs) and government jobs in 1990.
“Encouraged by the successful result of the decision, my government had enhanced reservation of women in panchayats and ULBs to 50 per cent in 2011,” the CM pointed out.
As the Constitution of India lays utmost stress on gender equality, he urged all chief ministers to continue sincere effort to eradicate gender inequality.
Naveen further mentioned that the state Assembly has passed a resolution unanimously for 33 per cent reservation of seats for women in both Parliament and state legislatures.
The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Wednesday decided to consult 22 political parties, including the Congress and the BJP, as part of its efforts to build consensus on the Women’s Reservation Bill, pending in the Lok Sabha. BJD delegates would meet leaders of seven national parties and 15 regional parties in this regard.
Though the Women’s Reservation Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha in March 2010, it could not be passed in the Lok Sabha. The legislation lapsed following the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.
Meanwhile, the BJD has also decided to put up a proposal regarding the bill during the winter session of Parliament which is scheduled to begin in the second week of December. In this regard, Patnaik has called for a meeting of Biju Janata Dal MPs here December 9, party sources said.