Kendrapara: BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday said that Odisha will send 33 per cent women to Parliament in the forthcoming elections.
From this announcement of the BJD supremo, it seems that the party will field 7-8 women candidates in the Lok Sabha polls. It is the first party to take a stand in this regard in India.
“Women in Odisha will lead the way in women’s empowerment in India,” Naveen said while addressing women at the Mission Shakti programme in Kendrapara town during his visit to the district.
“If India is to lead the world and be an advanced nation like America and China, then women’s empowerment is the only answer,” he added.
The Chief Minister called upon the national parties to be true to their words and must follow what they are propagating for women empowerment.
He said the legendary leader Biju Babu, whose karma bhoomi was Kendrapara, had shown the way to the entire nation for the first time by implementing 33 per cent reservation for women in the three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and government jobs.
The Chief Minister further said that his government, which had enhanced it to 50 per cent reservation in PRIs in 2012, had passed a resolution in the State Assembly for the first time last year to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in the Parliament and state legislatures. “I have also sent a proposal to all the national parties and Chief Ministers in this regard,” he pointed out.
In February, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) had praised the Chief Minister and the Odisha government for taking the lead and proposing 33 per cent reservation for women in Legislative Assemblies and Parliament.
For the implementation of the proposal, BJD leaders had met several national and regional leaders.
Kalikesh Narayan Singhdeo and Kulamani Samal met CPI’s National Secretary and MP D Raja on December 14. A BJD delegation of Badri Narayan Patra and Arup Patnaik had met Pawar at his residence in Pune on December 15 and handed him a letter of the Chief Minister seeking his support to the proposal.
On December 20, Prasanna Acharya, Bhartruhari Mahtab, Pratab Deb, Prasanna Kumar Patasani, Tathagata Satpathy, Sarojini Hembram, Pratyusha Rajeshwari Singh, Anubhav Mohanty and others had met Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.
Besides, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik had met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu on December 25 while BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab had met former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on January 5.
On January 9, Nagendra Pradhan and Rabindra Jena had met Bihar CM and JD (U) President Nitish Kumar while Pinaki Mishra had met Jammu & Kashmir National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah on January 3.
The Chief Minister in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 4 had urged him to initiate the move to ensure one-third reservation for women.
He had also written to chief ministers of all states on December 6 seeking their support on this matter.