Sonadevi just wanted to highlight a problem faced by working mothers with breastfeeding babies. She ended up making a big statement in Rajasthan’s assembly on Thursday.
It all started when Sonadevi – an MLA from Raisinghnagar in Sri Ganganagar district -- arrived at the assembly cradling her three-month-old daughter in her arms, sending security personnel into a tizzy.
Security personnel argued that assembly rules do not allow anyone except MLAs – besides selected people discharging official duties -- in the House and hence she could not take her baby inside. In fact, children below 10 years are not permitted in the assembly premises, sources said.
But the 27-year-old Sonadevi, a legislator of the National Unionist Zamindara Party stood her ground, saying that her daughter needed breastfeeding at regular intervals.
Security personnel later bent the rules to allow Sonadevi to take her daughter to a room assigned for the opposition, where her personal assistant would baby sit while “mommy” took care of other important matters.
“I wanted to highlight the problem of working lactating mothers. There are government employees who are posted far away from their homes. The government should do something about them, at least, till their babies are on breast milk,” Devi said later.
Another MLA from her party Kamini Jindal is also expecting a baby in a couple of days.
“She has taken leave from assembly but in the following sessions, she will face the same problem,” Sonadevi said, demanding a crèche and a room for breastfeeding in the assembly.
Noteworthy, former Union women and child development minister Renuka Choudhury had proposed a crèche in Parliament which was cleared by the Speaker. However, it is yet to materialise.
Britain's parliament has a crèche with a capacity to take care of 40 children while the Scottish parliament has a crèche for children of visitors.