Women leaders drawn from various parties, including Congress, BJP and the Left, today agreed to press for early passage of Women's Reservation Bill pending in the Lok Sabha.
At an event hosted by a Aaj Tak TV news channel, Delhi chief minister Shiela Dikshit, leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and CPI(M) Politburo member Brinda Karat said lack of political determination and will have led to delay in the passing the bill.
Praising the Goa police for taking the correct step in lodging a rape case against Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal, Karat said he has to face the law.
"There seems to be a lack of will. We gave 50 per cent reservation in municipalities. There were many discussions due to this. What we found that while at places they have worked well, some places they have worked better than men. There should be courage to take this step and women have this courage, not men," Dikshit said.
Brinda Karat said there is a need for political determination. "We passed the bill in Rajya Sabha in 2010 after a long struggle. But it took three years to come to Lok Sabha. It is a game of power. Empowerment of women in politics means disempowerment of men..These two things go hand in hand," said Karat.
Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said men think that standing for women's rights is like standing for themselves.
"On this issue, when it came to Panchayati Raj, this question did not arise as their (men's) chairs were secured. 33 per cent reservation was given in it. Many states increased it to 50 per cent. Objections were raised when its introduction was sought in Parliament,"she said.
She added "people jokingly say that saying yes to the Women's Bill is signing one's suicide note. The problem arises when they think that their own chairs will not be secured..," the leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha added.
Taking a jibe at Dikshit on her comment that men do not have the courage to give women's reservation, Swaraj said BJP's chief ministers, who were men, had shown this courage in different states.
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