Striking an emotive note, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday remembered her "life partner" Rajiv Gandhi while speaking on the women's reservation bill and said his dream would be fulfilled with the passage of this legislation.
Extending her party's support to the women's reservation bill, the Congress parliamentary party chief demanded that the quota be implemented immediately and SC, ST and OBC women also be given reservation following a caste census.
While putting forward strong political points on the bill, she also injected a personal note when she recalled former prime minister and her husband Rajiv Gandhi's efforts to secure reservation for women.
"This is a very poignant moment in my life. It was my life partner Rajiv Gandhi ji who for the first time had brought the constitutional amendment for participation of women in local bodies, but it was defeated in the Rajya Sabha by seven votes. Later, the Congress government under the leadership of prime minister P V Narasimha Rao got it passed," she said in the Lok Sabha.
Today, as a result of that, there are 15 lakh elected women leaders through local bodies across the country, she added.
"Rajiv Gandhi's dream is only half fulfilled. It will be fulfilled with the passage of this bill. The Congress supports this bill," Mrs Gandhi said.
The constitutional amendment bill was introduced in the Lower House on Tuesday. It was the first bill introduced in the new Parliament building.
The bill provides for 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The reservation will come into effect only after the completion of the census and delimitation exercise.
Rajiv Gandhi first introduced Constitution Amendment Bills for one-third reservation in panchayats and nagarpalikas in May 1989. It was passed in the Lok Sabha but failed in the Rajya Sabha in September 1989.
Later, then prime minister Narasimha Rao reintroduced Constitution Amendment Bills for one-third reservation for women in panchayats and nagarpalikas in April 1993. Both bills were passed and became laws.
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