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“Parties must shed confrontationist approach”

Staff Reporter

Somnath defends Women’s Reservation Bill; says they are not asking for any charity



Somnath Chatterjee

BHUBANESWAR: Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said here on Sunday that it was difficult to evolve consensus among political parties on the Women’s Reservation Bill.

Mr. Chatterjee was speaking to journalists after delivering the Loknath Choudhury Memorial Lecture.

He supported the Bill saying women were not asking for any charity and political parties must shed their confrontationist approach on this important issue.

Speaking on “India at 60 – An agenda for inclusive development,” Mr. Chatterjee said that “even after six decades of freedom, women’s representation in our higher representative bodies is woefully inadequate … Any plan for the development of the country cannot be a success if we do not make women equal partners in the task of nation building.”

He said:

“I hope the revived interest in the proposed legislative initiative will be pursued to its logical conclusion and an effective legal remedy will be in place soon to ensure the due representation of women in our higher representative bodies.

“A large section of our population is looking forward to it with interest today and it is my hope that during my tenure as the Speaker of Lok Sabha, the law will be enacted.”

Taking a dig at globalisation, the Speaker said:

“The 8 per cent or more GDP growth has not percolated to the grassroots level. Globalisation, whose benefits, if any, are still limited, may seem unavoidable and perhaps we cannot ultimately avoid integrating with world economy, but that process should include within it the fulfilment of the aspirations of India’s masses.

“To bring about an inclusive society, we have to create conditions for political freedom to co-exist with economic freedom and distributive justice. We need to give priority to issues concerning the common people, especially the rural poor, so that they come to occupy the centre-stage of all our development policies and programmes.”

Tributes to Loknath

Earlier, Mr. Chatterjee paid rich tributes to Communist leader Loknath Choudhury for his role in the zamindari abolition movement, in raising the pathetic plight of people of Kalahandi, Koraput and Bolangir and championing the cause of the legitimate rights of the downtrodden.

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