Chandigarh, September 25
In a repeat of scenes at the BJP headquarters last week, the party’s women leaders today honoured Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the passage of women’s reservation bill in Madhya Pradesh amid demand for SC/ST/OBC reservation from former chief minister Uma Bharti.
Addressing party workers at ‘Karyakarta Mahakumbh’ in Bhopal, the Prime Minister said Congress and allies (INDIA alliance) backed the bill due to “compulsion.”
“I want to warn the women of India, the Congress and its new ‘ghamandiya’ alliance supported this (Women's Reservation) Bill half-heartedly and reluctantly,” he said.
PM Modi also called first-time voters in Madhya Pradesh "fortunate" to have seen only the government of the BJP—the “key centre of India's development vision.”
“Congress spreads negativity and wants to take country back to 20th century,” he claimed, slamming the rival party for “criticizing” BJP over construction of new Parliament building and other development works.
Alleging “years of misrule and corruption” in Madhya Pradesh before BJP came to power in the state, the Prime Minister warned that a return of Congress would turn the state into ‘Bimaru’—the acronym used to refer poorest states on the basis of development parameters like economic growth, healthcare, education, etc.
BJP’s election strategy
Armed with the “historic” Women’s Reservation Bill passed during the special session of the Parliament this week, the ruling BJP appears to have spun a multi-pronged strategy for the upcoming polls to key states and the general elections.
Apart from the narrative around its “successful and concentrated efforts towards women empowerment”, the other pillars of the strategy include merits of a majority government and "political compulsions" of alliances, the success of the G-20 conference, roads/ railways/development agenda of BJP, “corruption” in rival parties, ‘parivaarvaad’, Sanatan dharma, etc.
Taking a veiled jibe at Rahul Gandhi, PM Modi said Congress leaders born with a silver spoon have turned agricultural land into picnic spots and the struggles of the poor into photo session opportunities.
Gandhi has been interacting with labourers and workers, putting out videos on social media platforms.
Burning Udhayanidhi’s effigies at Dussehra
Apart from showcasing BJP’s achievements in infrastructure, the saffron party is also preparing to play up the core theme of the party—Hindutva and Sanatan Dharma—courtesy the recent controversial statements by Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin.
Notably the Delhi BJP has asked ‘Ramlilas’ in the capital to burn effigies of Udhayanidhi on Vijayadashami (Dussehra). Preparations have started for staging around 600 small and big Ramlilas and according to reports many Ramlila committees have announced that this year they will also burn the effigy of Udhayanidhi for his statements against Sanatan Dharma “because his attitude is similar to that of Ravan”.
Many organisers also described Udayanidhi as “today’s Ravan”.
Dheerajdhar Gupta, president of Shri Dharmic Leela Committee, was quoted as saying that the “fourth effigy will be of Udhaynidhi”.
A formal announcement is expected soon.
The Delhi BJP had called upon Ramlila committees to “burn the effigies of opponents of Sanatan Dharma on Vijayadashami”.
Describing it as a “historic step” for women empowerment, the PM at the Nari Shakti Vandan-Abhinandan Karyakram at the party headquarters underlined BJP’s efforts in the past three decades to ensure women’s participation in democracy through law.
Citing it as an example, he also made a pitch for having a strong government with majority, saying this made the parliamentary approval for the long-pending idea possible.
Observers say BJP will play up Congress’s “inadequate efforts towards the cause of women reservation and their inability to bring it to the Lok Sabha while they were in power” in the campaign.
Women constitute more than 48 % of the country’s population and BJP is banking on women voters, they add.
Uma Bharti demands OBC quota
Notably, claiming that the INDIA alliance parties are “flustered”, the PM today also warned of attempts to divide the 'Nari Shakti' through rumours.
However, while opposition parties, including Congress, have been demanding a sub quota for SC/STs/ OBCs in the legislation, BJP’s senior leader Uma Bharti has also been voicing similar views.
Bharti, who also belongs to the OBC community, said the recently-cleared legislation should not be implemented without a sub-quota for backward communities. “The Prime Minister is welcomed in the land of Bhopal. He is the messiah of the poor and backward, I am sure he will give a positive signal on OBC reservation for women,” she said.
Last week, Bharti wrote to the PM demanding that 50% of the 33% reservation for women in legislative bodies be reserved for marginalised communities like Scheduled Tribes (ST), Scheduled Castes (SC), and OBCs.
Notably, BJP is banking majorly on women voters, includingin MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where Congress is the main rival.
There is substantial debate over the exact number of OBCs in India.
The number is estimated to be “sizable (some peg it around 40%) but lower than figures quoted by the Mandal Commission or National Sample Survey,” according to reports.
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