NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said the Congress and its allies wholeheartedly supported the Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament, and asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not briefed correctly about it.
He also said that it was the previous Congress governments in Maharashtra and at the Centre that had initiated steps for women's empowerment. His statement comes a day after PM Modi said in Madhya Pradesh that the Congress and its allies in the new "ghamandia" (arrogant) alliance supported the Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament "reluctantly".
Addressing a press conference here, Pawar said, "PM Narendra Modi spoke of Congress and 'ghamandia' allies supporting the Women's Reservation Bill reluctantly. But this is not true. All of us have wholeheartedly supported the bill. The PM was not appropriately briefed." He said that on June 24, 1994, the Congress government headed by him in Maharashtra had unveiled a women's policy which was the first in the country.
"Similarly, the Congress government at the Centre had brought the 73rd constitutional amendment, which paved the way for 33 per cent quota for women in local bodies," the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) founder said. "When I was Defence Minister, 11 per cent reservation was given to women in Army, Navy and Air Force," he said.
To a question on his meeting with industrialist Gautam Adani in Ahmedabad, Pawar said he had gone to inaugurate an industrial unit belonging to a businessman from Baramati. Adani was the chief guest of the function held at Sanand industrial estate, he said. On the issue of tension between India-Canada tensions, Pawar said his total support as an Indian citizen will be with the policy of the Indian government.