NEW DELHI: Ahead of the commencement of the Monsoon session of Parliament, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking passage of the women's reservation bill. "I write to you to request your support to ensure the passage of the women's reservation bill in the upcoming Monsoon session of Parliament," the letter states. The Monsoon Session of Parliament will start on July 18.
Our PM says he’s a crusader for women’s empowerment? Time for him to rise above party politics, walk-his-talk & have the Women’s Reservation Bill passed by Parliament. The Congress offers him its unconditional support.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 16, 2018
"Given that fact that the BJP and its allies have a majority in the Lok Sabha, all this landmark legislation requires to become a reality is your support. I am sure, it will not be withheld. In order to raise awareness and build public support, the Congress party has collected over 3.2 million signatures of Indian men and women, in support of the bill. We submit these signatures to your care and humbly seek your support in ensuring that the Women's Reservation Bill is passed by Parliament so that women can participate more meaningfully in the 2019 General Elections and the state elections later this year," the letter reads.
He appealed to the PM to 'stand together and rise above party politics' to send the message that the time for change has come. "Women must take their rightful place in our state legislatures and in Parliament, where they are at present abysmally represented," he wrote.
He also blamed the BJP for stalling the bill. "While the Congress party has been unwavering in its commitment to the bill, the BJP appears to have had second thoughts, even though this was one of its key promises in its 2014 manifesto," he wrote.
The women's reservation bill was passed during the UPA rule in Rajya Sabha in March 2010, but could not be passed in Lok Sabha. In February this year, the Rajya Sabha had rejected three amendments seeking inclusion of a passage of the Bill in the President's address to the joint sitting of Parliament, but the government had said that it was ready for a discussion on it.
Opposition parties will meet on Monday to formulate a joint strategy to corner the government on various issues during the session. Leaders from the Congress and various other parties will meet this evening in the office of the Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad in Parliament House.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will also hold discussions with leaders of various political parties at a dinner meeting on Tuesday where she will seek the support of the parties in ensuring smooth functioning of the session and passage of various pending bills.
PM Modi is also likely to attend the dinner though he will not participate in the meeting. The meeting will take place in the Parliament Library Building and will be preceded by another meeting of the government with opposition parties.