K Kavitha, senior leader of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), is holding a hunger strike in New Delhi today to demand the introduction of Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament.
Leaders of several parties, including Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, National Conference, Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and Samajwadi Party, are expected to participate in Ms Kavitha’s day-long protest at Jantar Mantar in the national capital.
Ms Kavitha, who is also the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, had yesterday said that 18 parties have confirmed their participation in the protest.
Speaking on the Women’s Reservation Bill, Ms Kavitha said the BJP had promised to implement the legislation in the run-up to the 2014 and 2019 general elections, but did not keep the word despite coming to power with a clear majority.
“Women’s Reservation bill is important and we need to bring it soon. I promise all women this protest will not stop until the bill is introduced,” she said.
The legislation proposes a Constitutional amendment to reserve 1/3 of the seats in Lok Sabha and Assemblies.
The BRS leader’s hunger strike comes a day before her questioning by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Delhi liquor policy scam.
“We released a poster on March 2 about the hunger strike in Delhi over the Women’s Reservation Bill. ED summoned me on March 9. I requested for March 16, but don’t know what haste they’re in, so I agreed for March 11,” she told reporters in the national capital yesterday.
“Why was the ED in a rush to question me and chose a day before my protest? It could have happened a day later as well,” Ms Kavitha added.
The ED case alleges that the BRS leader is part of the “South Cartel” that benefited from kickbacks after Delhi’s now-scrapped liquor policy came into force.
The BRS leader has denied the allegations and accused the centre of misusing probe agencies for political goals. “From last June, the Government of India has constantly been sending its agencies to Telangana. Why? Because Telangana elections are due in November or December.”
These were attempts by the BJP to divert attention from real issues, Ms Kavitha said.