On Tuesday, NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar credited the government initiatives favoring women to the Congress and criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his recent remarks about the Women’s Reservation Bill. Pawar described PM Modi’s comments as “wrong” and “painful.”
Speaking in response to Modi’s statement made during an election rally in Madhya Pradesh, Sharad Pawar stated, “PM Modi’s criticism is wrong. His statements are painful.” Pawar went on to suggest that Modi may not have been adequately briefed on the matter.
Pawar firmly underlined that Maharashtra had set a precedent by introducing 30% reservation for women in municipal and district local body elections as early as 1994. He aimed to dispel any notion that the country had not previously considered women’s reservation.
The former Union Minister further highlighted that, with only two exceptions, the Congress party and its allies had wholeheartedly supported the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament.
Sharad Pawar noted, “It was the previous Congress governments in Maharashtra and at the Centre that initiated steps for women’s empowerment. I completely disagree with PM Modi’s statement. On June 24, 1994, the Congress government headed by me in the State unveiled a women’s policy which was the first in the country. When I was Defence minister, 11% reservation was given to women in Army, Navy, and Air Force,” he added. He also emphasized that the Congress government at the Centre had introduced the 73rd constitutional amendment, paving the way for a 33% quota for women in local bodies.
Regarding other matters, Pawar asserted that it is his party’s demand that the 40% additional export duty on onions should be immediately revoked.
Sharad Pawar’s remarks highlight the ongoing political discourse on women’s empowerment and reservations in India and the perspectives held by different political leaders.