India cannot be a superpower unless its women were empowered and given equal chance in politics, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said Sunday.
"As states which empower women progress rapidly, we want to give women an equal chance in politics. They should be more visible not only in the local bodies, but also in state legislature and parliament," Gandhi said while addressing a women's rally at the Mahatma Gandhi stadium in this Karnataka town.
Hoping that a day would come when women could walk in the streets without fear in the evening or night and in buses, he called for efforts to include them in every sector with safety and freedom.
"We want to use your strength for the overall development of the country. More women should encouraged joining schools as teachers, hospitals as doctors and parliament as lawmakers," Gandhi said in his hour-long speech in Hindi, which was translated into the local Kannada by party leader B.L. Shankar.
In this context, Gandhi assured thousands of women in the rally that the UPA government would strive to pass the Women's Reservation Bill in parliament at the earliest to ensure 33 percent representation to them in Lok Sabha and state assemblies across the country.
Without naming any political party or organisation, he lamented that some of the opposition parties did not respect women and their ideological outfits had no place for them.
"Some of the organisations don't give place for women because of their ideology. One of their leaders says something and does the opposite. I do not want to elaborate as you know better," Gandhi quipped.
Favouring more power to women, Gandhi said the ruling party would give a greater role for women in the poll process for the ensuing general elections.
Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to the state since Saturday, later flagged off a road show from Tumkur to Mysore via Mandya to interact with the people along the route and seek their support in re-electing the UPA to power for the third consecutive time.