UP Legislature reserves day for women members to speak

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Lucknow: Both Houses of the Uttar Pradesh Legislature set aside Thursday for women legislators to speak, an initiative lauded by the ruling and Opposition parties.

The women members spoke after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s opening remarks followed by an address by Leader of Opposition Akhilesh Yadav in the state Assembly.

Women doctors, MBA students, law graduates and girls from educational institutes witnessed the proceedings from the gallery of the Assembly.

The Legislative Council too held the day-long sitting in which only women members spoke.

The 403-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly has 47 women MLAs, including 22 first-timers. There are six women MLCs in the 100-member Legislative Council.

Hailing the move, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said suggestions from women members will help the government take concrete steps.

Speaking after him, Leader of the Opposition and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav stressed the need for checking crime against women.

“Today, the largest legislature of the country is moving towards creating a new history. After 75 years of the Independence, voices of half the population will reach 25 crore people of the state,” Adityanath said, stressing that it should have been done long ago.

The chief minister said this is not the first time that an effort is being made to give equal status to women.

“After the Independence, a lot of good efforts were made in this direction. The Constitution makers had given the right to vote to men and women from the beginning. In England and many other countries, women got this right later,” he said.

In a lighter vein, he said on normal days, women members’ voice gets buried in the din.

“If you come to know of any of your mistakes, apologise by holding both ears and help run the House better,” he said addressing male members.

Recalling the contribution of women during the Vedic period and their sacrifices during the freedom struggle, the chief minister highlighted his government’s schemes for them.

“I request that women members should be allowed to discuss as long as they want and it should also be published,” the chief minister added.

Speaking on the occasion, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said problems related to women are so vast that it will need many days to discuss them.

“Even if we debate throughout the session, they may not end,” Yadav said as he thanked Assembly Speaker Satish Mahana for the initiative.

Referring to the crime against women, Yadav said, “The harshest laws have been passed in Parliament but the crime against women is not decreasing.”

Referring to the Hathras rape and murder case, he said, “I have not stood up today to oppose the government. Many such incidents had taken place in our government also but when the government, society and opposition work together then these problems can be checked.”

A 19-year-old Dalit woman was gangraped and murdered in Hathras in 2020. With Adityanath listening, he stressed on giving 33 per cent reservation to women in all government jobs.

Women helpline 1090 should be improved and complaints should be accepted through email and WhatsApp, he said. A cell headed by the DGP should be constituted for crime against women and an index be made to ascertain gender sensitivity, Yadav suggested.

Later, BJP legislator Anupama Jaiswal presided over the House.

Samajwadi Party’s Dr Ragini thanked party chief Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple Yadav for her progressive thoughts. She demanded that women be given reservation in every sector.

Congress Legislative Party leader Aradhana Mishra said she drew inspiration from former PM Indira Gandhi, who changed the map of the world by the creation of Bangladesh.

UP minister Gulab Devi said women are being made self-reliant by the government.

The condition of women has been improved in the state after the formation of the Yogi Adityanath government, she said listing schemes of the UP government.

As many as 38 women MLAs took part in the discussion. This includes 24 women MLAs of the BJP, 10 of the SP, three of the Apna Dal (Sonelal) and one of the Congress.

Dr Manju Shiwach and Anupama Jaiswal, both from the BJP, and Syeda Khatoon of the SP were given the opportunity to preside over the House.

UP has the distinction of having the first woman chief minister in the country. Sucheta Kriplani served as the state CM from October 2, 1963 to March 13, 1967.