All-women party seeks 50% reservation in Parliament
The National Women’s Party, which claims to be the country’s first national level women’s party, and which aims to ensure 50% reservation for women in Parliament, was launched in Delhi on Tuesday.
It is headed by Swetha Shetty, 36, who heads a non-governmental organization (NGO), Telangana Mahila Samiti, which boasts of 1.45 lakh members in Telangana.
“I realised there was a need to be part of the system to change the system, I wanted to make this a national movement. We need higher participation in the Parliament to amend laws for the welfare and progress of women ,” Shetty said at the launch of the party.
According to the 2011 census, India has 586.4 million women out of a total population of 1.21 billion. A total of 260.6 million women exercised their right to vote in Lok Sabha elections in 2014 according to the Election Commission of India, which gives any women’s party potentially the largest base among political parties.
Yet, there are only 64 women members in the 560-member Lok Sabha and 28 in the 244-member Rajya Sabha. There has been no progress on the women’s reservation bill, which promises to reserve 33% of the seats in Parliament for women.
“The creation of the all women party came only after we tried everything else to have at least 33% reservation for women in election seats from approaching political parties politely, going to the courts or putting pressure at grassroots level,” said Shetty.
Even men who agree with the ideology are welcome, she added.