Talking about the recent approval to the Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, referred to as the “Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam”, by Parliament, the prime minister said, “Women’s leadership may be a modern system for the rest of the world, but we are the people who worship Mother Parvati and Ganga before Mahadev.”
Hitting out at opposition parties, especially the Congress, he said, “This law has been named Nari Shakti Vandan Act, although some people have a problem with the word vandan (worship). Now, what will they do if they do not worship mothers.”
While discussing the bill in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Congress MP Ranjeet Ranjan objected to its name and said equality is a constitutional right of women and it is not appropriate to link it with divine or worship.
She said even though the BJP-led government talks about “vandan” of women, there is a huge difference between its words and actions. Be it the case of the women wrestlers’ protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar or the harassment of women in Manipur — everyone has seen the government’s stand, Ranjan said.
Modi sarcastically said, “These people do not understand the meaning of worshipping and respecting women. But we have to avoid such negative thinking and move towards our goal. With the blessings of our mothers and sisters, the country will continue to move ahead and take decisions in this manner in the Amrit Kaal.” Without mentioning the Lok Sabha polls to be held next year, he said, “The power of mothers and sisters is my biggest security shield (‘suraksha kavach’). Your blessings are my greatest source of energy.” The prime minister was addressing the “Nari Shakti Vandan Samaroh” organised at the ground of Sampurnanand Sanskrit University. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath accompanied Modi at the function.
“This Kashi of ours is also the birthplace of a brave woman like Rani Lakshmibai. From brave women like Rani Lakshmi Bai during the freedom struggle to Mission Chandrayaan in modern India — we have proved the power of women’s leadership in every period.
“Take the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam for example. This law was pending for three decades. But today, it is your strength that even those political parties who never got tired of opposing it earlier had to support it in both Houses of Parliament,” the prime minister said.
Giving credit to the women of the country for this, he said, “Because you, the mothers and sisters, have become aware and united, all the political parties of India are afraid and trembling and that is why this bill was passed — this is your strength.”
Striking a chord with the voters of Varanasi, Modi said “your MP from Kashi got the privilege” of getting the women’s reservation bill passed in Parliament.
“Kashi is the holy city of Mother Kushmanda, Mother Shringar Gauri, Mother Annapurna and Mother Ganga. The glory of their power is attached to every part of this place. Vindhyavasini Devi is also not far from Banaras.
“The city of Kashi has also been a witness to the virtuous deeds and management of goddess Ahilyabai Holkar and hence, after the historic Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam was passed in Parliament, I came to Kashi first to seek blessings from all of you. It is my good fortune that you are blessing us in such large numbers,” he said.
The prime minister added that the festival of Durga Puja is around the corner and pointed out that the preparations for Durga Puja pandals have begun at various places in Varanasi. “The passage of the Nari Shakti Act during this time has increased the enthusiasm of Navratri manifold,” he said.
Modi hoped that the law would open new avenues for women’s development in the country.
“The presence of women will increase in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. I heartily congratulate you, the mothers and sisters of the country, for this achievement from the holy land of Kashi,” he said.
The prime minister said over the last nine years, his government has worked keeping the lives of women and their dreams at the centre.
“There was a tradition of not keeping property in the name of women. Cars, land, shops — all were bought in the name of men. This used to be the rule here, but Modi has come and started the tradition of registering property in the name of mothers, sisters and daughters.
“We have also made a provision for giving houses in the name of women under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana. Today, house registration is being done in the name of thousands of women in Kashi. This has also increased their importance in the family and the society,” he said.
From the field of sports to flying Rafale fighter jets, “our daughters are doing wonders”, the prime minister said, adding that Varanasi is witness to the speed at which development takes place when women get equal opportunities.
Enumerating the schemes implemented by his government and the benefits they provide to women, he said a large number of women self-help groups have been formed in Varanasi and all over Purvanchal.
The prime minister reached the venue of the programme after laying the foundation stone of an international cricket stadium in Varanasi. Modi is currently representing Varanasi in the Lok Sabha for a second consecutive term.
The 128th Constitution amendment bill to reserve one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women received the Parliament’s nod on Thursday.