Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil, the UPA candidate for the Presidentship, on Saturday said her nomination for the top post reflected the respect women get in India and it would encourage the fairer sex.
Soon after her arrival in the Capital on Saturday morning, she met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at her 10-Janpath residence and discussed matters related to the Presidential election.
My candidature for the top post is a big step for women. I am very happy to be selected as the UPA candidate. This shows that India has a lot of respect for women," the 72-year- old Patil told reporters after her arrival at the airport from Jaipur on Saturday monring.
She said her candidature would "inspire" other women and help in their empowerment. "(But) empowerment will not come automatically. They will have to work for it," Patil said as curious passengers made a beeline to catch of glimpse of a possible first woman president of the country.
Asked about the Women's Reservation Bill, Patil said the Parliament would decide about it. Patil, wearing a white saree with maroon border, was received at the airport with bouquets by senior Congress leaders PR Dasmunsi, Oscar Fernandes, Suresh Pachouri and Motilal Vohra.
Delayed by over one hour due to inclement weather, she arrived in a Go-Air flight. Vijendra Singh Shekhawat, cousin of her husband Devi Singh Shekhawat who looks after the educational institutions owned by the latter, was also at the airport.
Former Maharashtra Home Minister Kripa Shankar Singh, who considers her as his "political guru", touched her feet and sought blessings.
"It was she who inspired me to join politics when she was the Maharashtra Congress chief. If I had become something, it is because of her," he said. Patil also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his 7-Race Course Road residence.