Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar has said the “mentality” of north India and Parliament seems not conducive yet to giving reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies.
The former Union minister made the remarks on Saturday at a programme organised by the Pune Doctors’ Association where he and his daughter and Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule were interviewed.
He was replying to a question on the Women’s Reservation Bill, which aims to reserve 33 per cent seats in the Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies for women which is yet to be passed, and whether this shows the country is still not mentally ready to accept the women leadership.
Mr Pawar said he had been speaking on this issue in Parliament since he was a Congress Lok Sabha member.
“The ‘mansikta‘ (mentality) of Parliament, especially of north India, has not been conducive (on this issue). I can recall that when I was the Congress Lok Sabha member, I used to talk about the issue of reservation for women in Parliament. Once after completing my speech, I turned back and saw that majority of MPs from my party got up and left. This means even for people from my party, it was not digestible,” he said.
The NCP chief said all (parties) should keep trying to get the bill passed.
“When I was the chief minister of Maharashtra, reservation for women was introduced in local bodies like the Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti. It was opposed initially but later people accepted it,” he added.