Women empowerment is real 'double engine' the country needs to bring about growth with equity: Naveen Patnaik
Naveen has been campaigning for 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and Assemblies. He has walked the talk by nominating at least seven women candidates for LS constituencies.
BHUBANESWAR: Sending in a clever political message, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik on Thursday took on BJP’s ‘double engine’ narrative for development and said empowerment of women is the real double engine the country needs to bring about growth with equity.
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team have been pitching in with the ‘double engine’ theory (BJP governments at the Centre and Odisha) for development, the BJD supremo took the debate to another plane and spoke about better representation to women in highest decision-making forum. “A nation that does not give effective representation to women in its highest decision-making forum is running on a single engine,” he said.
Naveen has been campaigning for 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and Assemblies. He has walked the talk by nominating at least seven women candidates for the Lok Sabha constituencies.
“In my view, if India has to hit the highway of growth and compete with the likes of US and China, it has to transform its political landscape by empowering women,” the Chief Minister said and added, “This is the real double engine the country needs.. for growth with equity and justice.”
The CM said, women can bring about a change in politics. “If politics is power, then women can use this power in a better way,” Naveen said and added, “If we have adequate representation of women, our approach to a multitude of issues would be different.”
Giving examples of German Chancellor Angela Markel and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s compassionate response to issue of migrants, he said, “If politics can estimate the value of the country, we should also give a chance to the women of the country.”
The Chief Minister reminisced his illustrious father Biju Patnaik’s contributions towards women empowerment. “He had started 33 per cent reservation for women in Panchayat Raj organisations. We have increased the 33 per cent reservation to 50 per cent.” “Initially it was criticised by many people. They were saying that husbands and fathers will really handle all the things for the women.
To some extent, it was right initially. But today, 60,000 women are working as Sarpanch, Ward Members, Samiti members, Zilla Parisad members and president in Odisha,” he said.
Naveen said one of his most satisfying moments as president of the BJD was when the party in a first of its kind decision by any political party in the country decided to provide 33 per cent reservation for women candidates in the Lok Sabha.
Targeting the Congress and BJP, he said both the national parties in their manifestoes have repeatedly spoken about women empowerment, but when it comes to walking the talk, there is a deafening silence.
Stating that BJD has done its bit to break the silence, Naveen said, “I am sure the people of Odisha will ensure that the voice of seven women candidates is heard in hallowed halls of Parliament.”
He said he is hopeful that the movement which started from Odisha will be followed by the national parties.