- Ravi Shankar Prasad writes letter to Congress President Rahul Gandhi
- It was in response to Rahul Gandhi's letter over women's reservation bill
- Will opposition parties support other women's rights bills, he asked
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to walk the talk on women's reservation bill, has drawn a strong response from the BJP. On Tuesday, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote back to Mr Gandhi, asking why the UPA government allowed the bill to lapse. Mr Prasad, whose party accuses the Congress of indulging in appeasement politics, also questioned if the opposition parties would support other bills that involve women's rights, like the ones banning Triple Talaq and Nikah Halala.
"You will appreciate the latter two not only gave the women of the Muslim community an unequal treatment but also seriously compromise their dignity. As national parties we cannot have two sets of standards in dealing with women and their rights," Mr Prasad's letter read.
The Congress had been cautious on the Triple Talaq bill, which has provisions for stringent punishment for men who divorce their wives instantly by uttering Talaq thrice. The party had suggested that the bill be strengthened to safeguard the rights of divorced Muslim women, so they live a life of dignity with adequate subsistence allowance.
This stance was also shared by parties like the AIADMK and the DMK, which were in favour of sending the bill to a parliamentary committee. The bill, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha, is listed for introduction in the Rajya Sabha during parliament's monsoon session that begins today.
The BJP has accused the Congress of blocking the bill. On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also raised the issue at a meeting in Azamgarh, questioning whether the party was only for Muslim men or also the Muslim women.
His other remark - that Rahul Gandhi recently reportedly said the Congress is a party for Muslims - fuelled a political row. The remark was attributed to Mr Gandhi by an Urdu daily, which reported that the Congress chief had said so at a meeting with Muslim intellectuals.
While most of those who attended that meeting denied that any such claim was made, the Congress chief hit back at the BJP with a tweet that said, "I stand with the last person in the line. The exploited, marginalised and the persecuted. Their religion, caste or beliefs matter little to me."
On Monday, Mr Gandhi had tweeted an open letter to PM Modi, asking that the Women's Reservation bill, which aims to reserve a third of seats in parliament and legislatures for women, be passed in the current session. The bill has been opposed by men across party lines and parties like the RJD of Lalu Yadav and the Samajwadi Party have officially pitted themselves against it.
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.