Rahul Gandhi today vigorously pushed for early passage of Women's Reservation Bill as he vowed to work towards having "maximum possible" women in leadership positions, recalling that his 'dadi'(grandmother) Indira Gandhi was the "boss" in the Gandhi household.
The Congress Vice-President raised his pitch for empowerment of women, saying India cannot become a superpower without the empowerment of the country's 50% population.
"Empowering women is a big battle that we have to fight and win," he said and expressed confidence that not only the Bill that seeks to provide 33% quota to women in legislatures bodies will be passed but in next five to ten years, nearly half of Congress ministers will be women.
Rahul was interacting with around 250 women from across the country as part of Congress' exercise of seeking direct inputs from stakeholders for its 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto.
"I want to tell you my perspective...In my house, there was papa (Rajiv Gandhi), there was uncle (Sanjay Gandhi) but the boss of the house was my dadi. There was no doubt about that that. Grandma was the boss," he said with a chuckle.
Noting that there is no difference in the capacity of a man and woman, he sad, "Women do not need any protection. If you give them their rights, they can protect themselves." "Women's Reservation Bill is in Parliament. I assure that we will not let it go....We have to do this 33% eservation women in Parliament and Assemblies. Political parties also have a responsibility," he added.
Gandhi, who is spearheading the Congress campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, said unless the bill was passed it will not be possible to empower women in all spheres.
"My thinking is that there should maximum possible number of women in leadership positions. I want that among the ministers of Congress that you see now, there should be 50 per cent women in next five to ten years," Gandhi said, adding "every woman is an asset for the country." As the assembled women put forth their views frankly to him--at times critical and demanding specific solutions--, Gandhi said the Congress will like to incorporate them in its manifesto.
Anganwadi workers, sex workers, marginalised women, social activists, transgenders and members of Gulabi Gang, a group of women vigilantes and activists originally from Bundelkhand, were among other groups who gave suggestions at the meet organised by All India Mahila Congress.
Among those whom Gandhi heard were two women from Gujarat who said there were many problems in the western state led by Narendra Modi.