Uma Bharti, known for otherwise known for her plain-speaking, skillfully evaded questions asked about Modi’s leadership and comparisons with Lal Krishna Advani and the Gandhi scion during the Zee Media’s ‘Ek Naari Aisi Bhi’ interview. Twice, Bharti veered the debate towards issues rather than on individuals.
She said “the country is severely suffering from issues like rising unemployment of women in particular and the seriousness of these issues are much beyond the likeness of a particular PM candidate.”
Employment scenario in India would improve only by enforcing protective governance, uniformity in education and economic independence for women, suggested Uma Bharti.
“Every girl or women in India is subjected to disparity, right from their home. Parents prefer giving dowries than spending money for education of their daughters.” The BJP leader, in her inimitable manner, suggested shutting down all banquet halls as solution to dowry related woes.
“Shut all marriage and banquet halls to reduce dowry burden on bride’s parents and useless expenditure on marriages in India,” she said.
Gender disparity is deep rooted in all sectors including Indian politics, lamented Bharti. In fact, Bharti went on to assert that independent willed women like Indira Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee or herself are at the receiving end or face wrath in politics because they don’t fall into the typical definition of subservient women.
Bharti likened herself to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
“There are two diverse facets of women in India; some are on the top and others below recognition. Because of this, issues related to women empowerment lacks uniformity in the country,” she stressed
But, can a women prime minister make a difference to issues confronting them? Not really, said Bharti. Instead of focusing on individuals and gender, what’s required is a single-minded focus on reforms.
“I believe it is important to bring reforms rather than making gender basis decisions on selecting Prime Ministerial (PM) candidates.”
Women-related issues will come high on agenda when everyone works towards that.
“Women safety and empowerment is not a party specific agenda. In my view, Indira Gandhi being a competent woman leader could have taken strong measures in support of women but that was not the need of the hour then.”
At that time, a strong willed leader will help maintain the tack.
“Unfortunately, today when women empowerment is the foremost need, we lack such strong leaders in the government,” she further added.
According to Bharti, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi too failed women and sacrificed their rights at the altar of vote bank politics.
“In my view despite enforcing women reservation in Panchayats, Rajiv Gandhi too failed as a leader in empowering women by proposing Muslim women (Protection on Rights of Divorce) Act in 1986.”
On Muzaffarnagar riots, Bharti linked the issue with Samajwadi Party’s failure to provide safety to women.
“Akhilesh Yadav’s government has failed in its duty to provide safety to women. It is because of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and his minister Azam Khan that the issue got diverted from its original concern and took a violent communal turn.”
Bharti reiterated her party’s stand on Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin issue despite her personal admiration for the Congress President.
“I genuinely like Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi as she is a part of India’s most respected family but she can’t be the next PM as only an Indian born leader can understand the country better.”
Bharti declared that “whosoever becomes the PM during BJP rule, I will ensure that women empowerment gets top priority”.
Ek Naari Aisi Bhi airs at 10:00 pm every Wednesday on Zee Media channels.