Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Rajni Patil on Saturday came down heavily on the state leadership for the 'step-motherly' treatment meted out to the party's women leaders, reminding them that it was a woman (party president Sonia Gandhi) who had given them the posts they are enjoying.
Patil's anger stemmed from an incident during one of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) rallies organised ahead of the state assembly elections to charge up its cadre and ebbing base. During an Aurangabad rally, Patil was allegedly not allowed to speak. The leader then shot off a note to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan asking why women were not allowed to speak in a Congress rally. The CM intervened, after which she was finally allowed to do so.
Patil said that many women party activists had come from different parts of the state to attend the rally. "We requested our state leaders to allow at least one woman leader to speak in rally. But they ignored our demand. We should be given equal representation and a chance to share our views on any official platform. Our national president Sonia Gandhi is a woman, yet no one in the state cares about women's rights. We have seen the result of the step-motherly treatment meted out to women in Lok Sabha. We are totally marginalised. In the preceding elections, most women did not vote for Congress. Therefore Congress was able to win only two seats," said Patil.
Lambasting Chavan and MPCC president Manikrao Thakre, Patil said, "The government has given 50 per cent reservation to women in local self-government bodies. Still, we are given secondary treatment. The leadership in the state should not forget that it is because of a woman (Sonia Gandhi), that they are enjoying their positions and posts today," she said.
Patil said she was not targeting any individual. "But I want them to realise the ground reality. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is also aware of this matter," she said.