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Abdullah pitches for passage women’s reservation bill in Parliament

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Says all promises BJP made to people of J&K have fallen flat

Jammu: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah slammed the BJP on Monday over the delay in the passage of the women’s reservation bill in Parliament despite enjoying a majority.

Abdullah said the passage of the women reservation’s bill would be the “biggest service” to the women in the country.

Addressing a function to mark the International Women’s Day at party headquarters in Jammu, Abdullah said men could basically talk about empowering women, but they do not want it to happen.

“The BJP is enjoying majority in the Parliament, and had passed farm bills and that of revocation of Article 370 even as the people were not in their favour. Why are they not passing this (women reservation) bill when the entire country wants it?” Abdullah asked.

“I will see whether they will pass it or not this time,” the Srinagar MP said.

Abdullah, who surprised the well-attended gathering by seating himself on the floor instead of taking a chair at the dias as a respect for the women on the occasion, said empowering women was the empowerment of each household in the country.

The bill was first introduced by the United Front government in 1996 and then the Vajpayee government tabled it a few times. However, it could never be passed in any of the two Houses on all these occasions.

The prospects of its passage brightened when the UPA government tabled it in the Rajya Sabha in 2010 and managed to get it passed in the Upper House. However, reluctance from some of its allies and opposition from backward caste MPs from many parties meant that it lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

Taking to reporters briefly at a separate function in the city, the NC leader said the “biggest responsibility” for everyone on this day was to pass the women’s reservation bill.

“This will be the biggest service which we can do to our sisters and mothers,” the former chief minister said.

Attacking the BJP for the scrapping of the erstwhile state’s special status, Abdullah said all the promises made to the people of Jammu and Kashmir had fallen flat.

“They promised of a new dawn, development and prosperity… Where is the development? What happened to the promised 50,000 jobs?” he asked.

Abdullah said the rise in prices of fuel and essential commodities had broken the backbone of the common people. He claimed that the poverty had taken over the people in Jammu and Kashmir, and they were finding it very difficult to meet their daily needs.

“They (Centre) promised Rs 80,000 crore (PM development package) during Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s tenure but Mehbooba (Mufti) says only Rs 10,000 crore were given.

“Now they are talking about Rs 28,000 crore, but nothing has changed on the ground and it’s evident from the condition of the roads, scarcity of water and non-availability of electricity,” he said.

He also criticised the central government for despatching coronavirus vaccines to different countries, saying priority should have been given to the population of the country. (With PTI inputs)

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