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Transform In Political Landscape By Empowering Women Is Real Double Engine India Needs: Odisha CM


04 April 2019

Mohammed Ishtiyaque


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Bhubaneswar: A nation that does not give effective representation to woman in its highest decision making forum is running on a single engine, said BJD supremo-cum-Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday.

If India has to hit the highway of growth and compete with the likes of US and China, it has to transform its political landscape by empowering women. This is the real double engine the country needs, to bring about growth with equity and justice, he added.

Speaking about two women leaders, Jacinda Ardern and Angela Markel, Naveen termed them examples of what women can bring to politics.

Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, stunned the whole world in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shootings aimed at refugees who were at their Friday Prayers by stating, “New Zealand is their home (referring to the Refugees and migrant killed). They are us.”

Similarly, Angela Markel, the German Chancellor, was perhaps the only leader who welcomed Refugees from other countries – transcending Nationality and showing compassion to fellow humans, said Naveen.

"If politics is the exercise of power, women have a more humane touch in its expression. If politics can decide a Nation’s values, is it prudent to have half our population not actively involved in decision making," he opined.

Remembering Biju Babu, Naveen termed him as one of the pioneers in Womens’ empowerment, who introduced 33 per cent reservation for women in the PRIs, which was increased to 50 per cent by his Government.

While initially there was a lot of criticism with most people saying that husbands and fathers will actually run the show, today more than sixty thousand women in Odisha are doing remarkable jobs as Ward Members, Sarpanchs, Block Samiti, Zilla Parishad Members and Presidents, said Naveen.

He further opined that if Odisha has had a huge improvement in the socio economic indicators like Infant mortality rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), the credit goes to the grass root women leaders and the 70 lakh strong Mission Shakti SHG movement of the State.

"If we had adequate representation of women, our approach to a multitude of issues would have been different. Questions of war, peace and terrorism would be differently decided. Our laws on rape, sexual assault and dowry will be more effectively implemented. Education and Health would be given much more focus. Empowering household incomes will be as much a priority as empowering corporate incomes," said Naveen.

Naveen asserted one of his most satisfying moments as BJD supremo was when the party, in a first of its kind decision of any political party in the country, decided to provide 33 per cent reservation for women candidates to the Lok Sabha.

"Both the national parties in their Manifestos have repeatedly spoken about womens’ empowerment, but somewhere when it comes to walking the talk – there is a deafening silence," he alleged asserting BJD has done its bit to break this silence.

He expressed his faith on the people of Odisha to ensure that the voice of BJD's seven women candidates is heard in the hallowed halls of Parliament and hoped that the movement that has started from Odisha will be followed by all national parties.

Also Read: Odisha CM Keeps 33% Reservation Promise: Meet The 7 Women Lok Sabha Candidates Of BJD

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Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Odisha

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