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New Delhi, February 6: Manlini Bhattacharya, President and Mariam Dhawale, General Secretary (AIDWA), Aruna Roy President and Annie Raja, General Secretary (NFIW) has jointly issued the following statement:

We, the undersigned organizations who have been in the forefront of the movement to increase women’s participation in the Indian Parliament and State assemblies for over two decades express deep disappointment that the NDA Government is still prevaricating over bringing the Women’s Reservation Bill onto the agenda of Parliament. It has been a long drawn out struggle, and the built up pressure of the movement was such that the present ruling party made a promise in its election manifesto to pass the Women’s Bill if they came to power.

The people of the country, especially the women, have waited for two and a half years, hoping that the current Government will fulfil its assurance. However, repeated reminders, meetings with the Speaker and the concerned Minister, by the national women’s organizations and others have gone in vain. In spite of the ruling party having the required majority, the Government has failed to take the requisite steps for passing the Bill so far. It vaunts about empowering women, but has remained inactive on a crucial step needed to enhance women’s political participation in the highest decision making bodies. In fact, this hypocritical stance is very much in tune with the direction in which the policies of this Government are moving. Curtailment of women’s democratic rights has become the order of the day at every level, even as the loud and brash campaign claiming the advent of “acche din” continues.

We, the women’s organizations and democratic minded groups declare that we will not succumb to the tactics of prevarication and postponement being indulged in by the Central Government. We resolve to fight unitedly and mobilize like thinking sections both within and outside Parliament to force the Government to place and pass the Women’s Reservation Bill without any further delay.

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