After the UPA Government turned down its suggestion on convening a special session of Parliament to discuss and amend laws to make them more stringent for crimes against women, the BJP on Monday took its fight to the President.
BJP leaders described the meeting with the President as “very good” and said that President Pranab Mukherjee had assured them that “he would talk to the Prime Minister on their demand for a special session of Parliament to discuss crimes against women”.
The BJP team that met the President included L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, M Venkaiah Naidu and Murli Manohar Joshi. The meeting lasted for around half-an-hour.
Interestingly, while the BJP had sought time from the President for Tuesday, party leaders were surprised when the President’s office informed them about an 8 pm-appointment on Monday itself.
“I told the President that we had made two specific demands before the government -- convene a special session of Parliament to amend the existing laws; and convene an all-party meeting so as to take into confidence all political parties on measures required to strengthen women’s security. But Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told me that this is not the right time for an all-party meeting. The government probably believes more in the power of the lathi of the cop then in various political parties,” said Sushma Swaraj, after meeting the President.
“We had a very good meeting. The President assured us that he would talk to the PM over our demand,” Naidu said.
A Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesperson said that the “President acknowledged that there is a sense of national outrage over the gangrape incident here”, and he told the BJP delegation that “he would convey to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh BJP’s demand for convening a special session of Parliament”.
The President also met a woman’s delegation led by Brinda Karat and told them that “he shares their anguish and understands the anger and strong reaction of the youth to the incident”.
The spokesperson added that the President had been keeping a tab on the developments in and around the capital and was being briefed regularly at various levels.
Earlier in the day, the BJP’s Core Group met, where party general secretaries were also invited, to discuss ways to tap the youth’s anxiety into somewhat far more constructive and force the government to accept the BJP’s twin demands.