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Rahul seeks views of women for Congress manifesto

PTI  Bhopal, January 21, 2014
First Published: 01:13 IST(21/1/2014) | Last Updated: 01:16 IST(21/1/2014)

Rahul Gandhi on Monday sought the views of women from diverse groups for the Congress manifesto and said empowering the fair sex is a "big battle" that the party will have to fight and win.

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The Congress vice-president, who will lead the party's campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, also made a strong pitch for early passage of the contentious Women's Reservation Bill.

Gandhi vowed to work towards having "maximum possible" women in leadership positions and injected a personal note, recalling that his 'dadi'(grandmother) Indira Gandhi was the "boss" in the Gandhi household.

He was interacting with around 250 women from across the country as part of Congress' exercise of seeking direct inputs from stakeholders for its poll manifesto.

As the assembled women put forth their views freely and frankly to him – at times critical and demanding specific solutions, Gandhi said the Congress will like to incorporate them in its poll document.

Anganwadi workers, sex workers, marginalised women, social activists, transgenders and members of Gulabi Gang, a group of women vigilantes and activists originally from Bundelkhand, were among other groups who gave suggestions at the meet organised by All India Mahila Congress.

Strongly batting for empowerment of women, Gandhi said India cannot become a superpower without the empowerment of the country's 50 per cent population.

"Empowering women is a big battle that we have to fight and win," he said and expressed confidence that not only the Bill that seeks to provide 33 per cent quota to women in legislatures bodies will be passed but in next five to ten years, nearly half of Congress ministers will be women.

"I want to tell you my perspective...In my house, there was papa (Rajiv Gandhi), there was uncle (Sanjay Gandhi) but the boss of the house was my dadi. There was no doubt about that that. Grandma was the boss," he said with a chuckle.

Noting that there is no difference in the capacity of a man and woman, he sad, "Women do not need any protection. If you give them their rights, they can protect themselves." "Women's Reservation Bill is in Parliament. I assure that we will not let it go....We have to do this 33 percent reservation women in Parliament and Assemblies. Political parties also have a responsibility," he added.

Gandhi said unless the bill was passed it will not be possible to empower women in all spheres.

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