BRS leader K Kavitha’s day-long hunger strike was launched by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Friday, March 10, in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. The protest is to press the demand for the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.
“Women reservation bill is very important for women empowerment. There has been attempt made table the bill. I want to salute all who try to brought in," she said at the protest site, adding that in our tradition too women have been crucial and that’s the reason we say “mata-pita, Siya-Ram".
The dharna comes at a time when Kavitha, daughter of Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the Delhi excise policy.
While Telangana CM’s daughter staged a protest in Delhi, BJP leaders in the southern state sat on a dharna against KCR over “growing atrocities against women". The protest was led by BJP national vice president DK Aruna and former MP Vijayashanthi.
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Calling Kavitha’s dharna “a farce", YRSTP chief YS Sharmila said, “KCR himself has not implemented women reservation. With so many crimes against women, Telangana has become like a landmine and we don’t know what will explode and when."
She went to say that BRS leaders are also involved in crimes against women. “Dalit women are assaulted and killed in lockups but chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao won’t say a word," Sharmila added.
BRS vs BJP Over Kavitha
Talking to reporters in Delhi, Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy on Thursday said the “Kalvakuntla family" (family of CM KCR) started a “new drama" in the name of hunger strike in support of women’s reservation bill to divert people’s attention from the allegations against Kavitha in the case.
He also took exception to BRS leaders’ attack on BJP-led NDA government over the summons issued by ED to Kavitha. “The Kalvakuntla family is behaving like ‘ulta chor kotwal ko daante’ (the pot calling the kettle black)," he said. How can PM Modi be blamed if an investigation is conducted into the allegations, Reddy asked the BRS.
Top BRS leader K T Rama Rao had launched a scathing attack on Modi and the BJP-led Centre, accusing it of crony capitalism and “misusing" agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate to harass opposition leaders.
Rama Rao, who alleged that the central agencies have become puppets in the hands of the Modi government, claimed that several BRS leaders have been targeted by the Centre.
BJP MP Arvind Dharmapuri had also attacked Telangana CM’s daughter over her “sudden epiphany to fight" for Women’s Reservation Bill at a time when she is “evolving as a key conspirator" in the Delhi liquor policy ‘scam’.
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Amid the clash between two parties, K Kavitha’s close aide Arun Pillai on Friday moved an application before Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court seeking to retract his statements given to the enforcement directorate.
The court has issued a notice to the ED over plea filed by Pillai, who alleged that the statements were recorded under force. The matter has been listed for hearing on Monday, March 13.
KCR’s Activities in Hyderabad
CM K Chandrashekhar Rao will hold a joint meeting of the BRS parliamentary party, legislature party and the state executive at 2 pm in Telangana Bhavan.
The party MPs, MLAs, MLCs, party state executive committee, district party presidents, zilla parishad chairmen, state level corporation chairmen, DCMS and BhuDCCB chairpersons will participate in the extended meeting.
“In view of this being an election year, the meeting will discuss widely about the implementation of government programmes, party activities, etc. Party supremo and CM KCR said that all the invitees must attend this meeting," a message from the BRS read.
What Kavitha Said A Day Before Protest
Addressing the media on Thursday, the BRS leader had said that the hunger strike will be held by her NGO Bharat Jagriti, and all political parities have been invited to join it. So far, 18 parties, including the CPI-M and the Shiv Sena, have confirmed their participation.
“About 500-600 members will sit on a hunger strike, but the attendance will be much more. More than 6,000 people and 18 political parties have confirmed their participation," she said.
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The bill, which seeks to reserve 33 per cent seats in Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies for women, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in May 2008 and was referred to a standing committee. In 2010, it was passed in the House and transmitted finally to the Lok Sabha. However, the bill lapsed with the 15th Lok Sabha.
Kavitha said the bill has been lying in cold storage since 2010 and the Modi government has a historic opportunity to get its passed in Parliament before 2024.
She further said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised in both 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls that his government would bring this bill and that it was also part of the BJP’s election manifesto, she said.
None of the BJP leaders raised this issue and the Modi government has failed to get this bill passed in Parliament despite having a majority, she said, and added, “This is very saddening issue." The world is progressing only by taking women on equal footing with men. This unfortunately has not happened in India.
The Modi government, if it wishes, can get the Women’s Reservation Bill passed just like the Aadhaar Bill which was passed by it as a financial bill and by bypassing the Rajya Sabha, she added.
Further, Kavitha said that India is at the 148th place among 193 countries in terms of women’s representation. There are only 78 women members out of 543 in Parliament, which is 14.4 per cent.
Unfortunately it is very less than the global average. In neighbouring Pakistan, there is 17 per cent reservation for women and their representation in Bangladesh is higher than India, she said.
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