NEW DELHI : As part of the Congress efforts to push for the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill, a delegation of its women leaders will meet President Ram Nath Kovind to submit signatures collected from across the country in support of the proposed law.
Sushmita Dev, chief of the party's women's wing All India Mahila Congress, told reporters here on Thursday that the signatures were collected from May 21 -- the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi -- as part of the opposition party's push for the bill pending passage in Parliament for almost seven years.
The Congress MP said they had sought time to meet the President and urge him to impress on the government to take steps for the early passage of the bill.
Sushmita Dev, along with party leaders Ranjeet Ranjan, Shobha Oza, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Khushboo Sundar, Sharmistha Mukherjee and Vijaylaxmi Sadho, issued a statement to say that various political parties should rise above their differences to pass the bill in the Lok Sabha.
The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha in March 2010.
The statement said the Congress had always championed the cause of disadvantaged sections of society, including women and the poor, Scheduled Castes and Tribes and Backward Classes
"History will remember the revolutionary reforms through the codification of Hindu Civil Code in 1955 despite vehement opposition from the right-wing forces to grant equal rights to women," it said.
The statement said the Congress reshaped participatory democracy in India by ensuring constitutional guarantee of reservation to women in local bodies at different levels.
It said steps were taken to end discrimination against women during the 10 years of Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government through the right to succession to ancestral property, which had been hitherto restricted to male members of a family.
It said the Congress found a progressive solution to the challenges faced by women by bringing in law containing new definition of crime against them.
The statement said that laws enacted during the UPA rule included the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention and Protection) Act.
The Congress leaders said the party had fought for equal political, social and economic rights for women before independence as well.
They said the Congress had had a woman President before and after independence and that the country got its first woman President and first woman Lok Sabha Speaker during the UPA rule.
"It is the Congress which elected the first woman Prime Minister of India, besides several Chief Ministers," the statement said.
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