NEW DELHI: Congress today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "failing to empower women" despite getting a historical mandate and demanded that he break his silence on his government's stand on the Women's Reservation Bill.
"I stand here as a woman policy maker from my party to urge the Prime Minister to break his silence. I was deeply disappointed to see that the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India and most of the woman Members of his Council of Ministers were absent from the Lok Sabha, when an impromptu debate took place on the International Women's day today," party spokesperson Sushmita Dev told reporters.
Dev lamented the Prime Minister's silence at a time when the "loudest voice and the common voice of consensus" has emerged over the last 3-4 days.
She said she was "deeply disappointed" because despite a historical mandate, with absolute majority, the Prime Minister has "failed to use it to empower women."
"Today, he has used that mandate; he has used his powers and compelled the Executive to use its powers for several ordinances and to reverse many farmers and labour-friendly laws to amend them, to change them. Repeatedly, we have seen them go down the Ordinance way but I am deeply saddened to say while the nation is looking at Planet 50:50 by 2030 ie parity between men and women, free of gender bias, that our Prime Minister lets us down with no assurance with his absence in Parliament," she said.
She wanted the Prime Minister to make a statement and clarify his position when he will bring this Bill, what are his views on the Bill, which has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha.
Dev, in a statement, also accused the government of having the "habit" of confrontation with the opposition on partisan matters and has made issuing ordinances to bypass Parliamentary accountability a "norm."
"However, on issues where it is assured of bi-partisan support, there is not a single word, leave apart a step forward on part of the government", she said.
Seeking to embarrass the women Ministers, she wondered what Sushma Swaraj, an old supporter of Women's Reservation Bill, Uma Bharati, Najma Heptullah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Maneka Gandhi, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Smriti Irani were going to do about the bill now that their government has requisite majority in the Lok Sabha.
She wondered if the Prime Minister envisages a role for women beyond procreating, "waiting for their spouse to come home before she puts burnol on her burnt finger".