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'33 per cent quota for women in BJP'

Countering the Cong campaign, BJP chief Rajnath Singh announces the quota for women in his party, reports Shekhar Iyer & HS Bartwal.

delhi Updated: Jun 26, 2007 04:35 IST

Countering the campaign of the Congress to get a woman President in Pratibha Patil, BJP chief Rajnath Singh on Monday announced 33 per cent reservation for women in the party.

Singh inaugurated the two-day national executive of the party and said former union minister Sushma Swaraj would head a committee to suggest changes in the party's constitution for the reservation.

The quota will cover all posts in the party from the district to the national level, and eventually cover even allotment of tickets for parliamentary and assembly elections.

Singh said: "the party enjoys a vast support base among women. We are of the opinion that their proper representation in the legislature should be enhanced. For this, representation in the party needs to be

Singh also announced formation of the polling booth-level committees. Even senior BJP leaders will be needed to take care of the party's base right down to the booth level.

No discussion on UP, Goa

But the conclave skirted any discussion on the assembly results of Uttar Pradesh, which has been the most shocking event for the party recently.

Barring BJP chief Rajnath Singh's remark the results in his home state were an opportunity to make the party "more alert and stable," senior party leaders avoided further reference to the subject.

Senior UP BJP leaders hurriedly presented a report, which blamed the party's poor showing to the Mayawati-led BSP's ability to project itself as an alternative to Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party.

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley, now in charge of UP, is not attending the conclave as he is out of the country. Backed by the RSS, Rajnath has already turned suggestions that he take personal blame for the debacle, saying the party believed in collective responsibility.
His aides have said the debacle is already under scrutiny by BJP functionaries and no open discussion is needed at this stage.

Putting up a brave face, Rajnath, told the BJP executive that "instead of disappointment, we should treat the UP results as an opportunity to make us more stable. We have lost the election but not our determination."
Sethusamudram project row

The party has expressed grave concern over the UPA government's insistence on proceeding with the Sethusamudram Canal Project despite opposition from various quarters. The BJP said it feared the move would lead to an international boundary dispute between India and Sri Lanka.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said a treaty signed by the then PMs Indira Gandhi and Sirimavo Bandaranaike gave both countries the right to treat the channel between India and Sri Lanka as "internal waters".