PANAJI: “It is evident from BJP President Sadanand Tanawade’s evasion of the media’s questions on the induction of Women MLAs in the cabinet that the party is not genuinely committed to their empowerment. I must ask, why is the present time not apt for the induction of the three BJP women MLAs into the predominantly male cabinet?” Congress leader Girish Chodankar questioned.
Reacting to Tanawade’s assertion that the BJP cannot allocate two ministries to one family reveals their lack of dedication to women’s empowerment. “Furthermore, if Mr. Tanawade believes in the capabilities of the women MLAs, then male Ministers like Vishwajit Rane and Babush Monserrate should willingly relinquish their ministries in favor of their spouses. It is disheartening to note that MLA Jenifer Monserrate, a former minister dropped from the ministry,” he said.
Chodankar said that the BJP’s ‘Jumla’ politics stands exposed as they deny women MLAs their rightful place in the cabinet.
“It is unjust to withhold ministries from them under the guise of being ‘first-time’ MLAs, especially when several male MLAs and MPs in the BJP have been appointed ministers in their first terms. If Dr. Pramod Sawant can become Chief Minister without becoming minister then why first time MLA can’t become minister?” Chodankar questioned.
He said that BJP’s reluctance towards women reservation and equality is evident. “Had they been earnest, they would have promptly provided opportunities for Women MLAs to assume ministerial roles and implemented women reservation,” he said.
“It is clear that the BJP is misleading the public with the excuse of census and delimitation. With women constituting 50% of the voters in every constituency, the need for a fresh census to reserve seats for women is redundant,” he said. As far as the caste survey is concerned, the 2011 caste survey conducted by the Congress government is available to implement the women’s reservation bill.
Chodankar said that the Congress party has consistently championed women’s rights. “We proudly recall that Nirmala Sawant was accorded a cabinet berth in her first term. We have always upheld the principle of equality, treating both men and women with equal respect. In contrast, the BJP seems to be capitalizing on women’s sentiments, especially after the surge in LPG prices. The public is well-aware of their deceptive ‘jumlas’ and will not be swayed by such tactics,” he said.
“It was disheartening to witness BJP President Tanawade’s unequal treatment of women MLAs during the press conference. While he spoke for an extended 22 minutes, MLA Deviya Rane was allotted a mere two minutes. Every educated woman, with the backing of her party colleagues, is fully capable of undertaking ministerial responsibilities. The BJP’s evident lack of faith in their women MLAs in the Goa Assembly raises serious questions about their commitment to women’s rights,” he said.