The MP asked why the bill had not been brought in 2014.
In a fiery speech in support of the Women's Reservation Bill, Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar trained her guns on the BJP and asked why the party did not demonstrate "genuine respect for women" by acting against its own MP, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is accused of sexually assaulting wrestlers.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, the Trinamool MP also termed the "late" introduction of the bill a gimmick and said it was "like pulling a rabbit from their hat" and placing it before the country.
"I would urge my colleagues in the BJP to prioritise transformation of the mindset. It is imperative that they demonstrate genuine respect for women by aligning their actions with their words. It is crucial that they take appropriate action against those who are harming women and showing them disrespect," she said
"The golden girls of the country who got us medals have been sexually harassed and they were at Jantar Mantar. But the perpetrator sits here today, Brij Bhushan Singh, who has not been brought to book. So if you are really interested in taking women towards betterment and progress, why don't you take action against the perpetrators," the MP asked.
Ms Dastidar went on to ask why no action had been taken in the Hathras and Unnao rape-and-murder cases. "A little girl was stoned to death in Jammu and the wrestlers, like I said, have been manhandled and molested," she said.
Salaries Not Paid
The MP also alleged that the wages and salaries of a wide spectrum of people, from those working under the employment guarantee Act to those employed as scientists and researchers with ISRO and the IITs have not been released.
"There are many women who work in the fields under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, but their payment has not been released yet. The researchers and scientific workers of ISRO and IITs are also being denied their salaries. I had requested the honourable minister in the last session," Ms Dastidar alleged
"The women researchers of IIT Kharagpur are not getting their salaries, not getting their stipends. This is a fact. In ISRO, the women scientists, even after sending Chandrayaan, are not being paid their salaries. So you have to respect women," she added.
'Catch Me If You Can'
Stating that the Trinamool Congress supports the bill and has already implemented over 33% 'reservation' for women, Ms Dastidar quoted legendary boxer Muhammad Ali's phrase "catch me if you can" to say that other parties should catch up.
"West Bengal is the only state in the country which has a female chief minister. The BJP has its governments in 16 states, but there are no women chief ministers there. Swami Vivekananda had said it is the awakening of women which awakes India towards development. Bengal has the most number of women in the assembly and the most women ministers," she said.
"In the Lok Sabha, right from 2014, we have been having more than 33% reservation within the party, so to say, without any forceful reservation being implemented through any parliamentary procedure or the election commission. At the moment, the Trinamool Congress has nearly 40% of women members, and also in the Rajya Sabha. This is what Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has done," she asserted.
The MP asked why the Women's Reservation Bill had not been brought in 2014 and why it was being tabled just before the elections.
"Why was it not brought in 2014? What are they trying to prove to the people. Is it like a gimmick, is it like pulling a rabbit from their hat and placing it before the country. This government has raised many questions against themselves, Why is the delimitation linked with the reservation? It is a sinister move and will have more members in parliament from states that have failed in population control and women's empowerment," Ms Dastidar alleged.
The bill, which is called the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, aims to provide 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies across the country.