Jubilant Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday hosted a thanksgiving dinner at 10 Janpath for her party MPs for pulling off the historic women’s reservation bill in the Rajya Sabha.
A galaxy of top Congressmen, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel were present.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony could not make it as he had to attend a ministry dinner.
Gandhi thanked the MPs for crossing the first hurdle in enacting the legislation for women’s political empowerment. She went from table to table, chatting with the spouses of the MPs before sitting down for dinner with some women MPs.
“She was immensely pleased with the passage of the bill and congratulated us for a job well done,” said an MP, adding that Gandhi greeted everybody by name.
Another woman MP told the Congress chief that “50 crore women of India are indebted to you for the bill”, to which Gandhi said “thank you”.
At one point, Rahul Gandhi jokingly told a group of women MPs that from 2014 onwards, men would have to fight for reservation.
On Friday, the Congress president will meet all the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chiefs and party general secretaries.
Although the meeting has been called to draw up programmes to celebrate party’s 125 years, the strategy for women’s bill when it comes to the states for ratification is also likely to be discussed.