Will strive for more Congress tickets for women, says Sushmita Dev

Congress MP Sushmita Dev took charge as the All India Mahila Congress chief on Friday and said she would work to get more party tickets for women for assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

Sushmita Dev, a Member of Parliament from Silchar in Assam, said the opposition party would strive for early passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.

Sushmita Dev was appointed chief of the All India Mahila Congress, the women’s wing of the Congress, on September 9 in place of Shobha Oza.

Recalling her conversation with party vice president Rahul Gandhi, Sushmita Dev quoted him as saying that there was no dearth of women in the party and asking “why is it that at time of nominations, everyone tells me these women won’t win?”

Sushmita Dev said the fight isn’t with men, but with traditions “which force even men to hold women back”.

“As the Mahila Congress chief, I want that when the time of nomination (for party tickets) comes the next time, Rahulji and Soniaji don’t feel that we don’t have women who have the potential to win”, she said.

Referring to the Women’s Reservation Bill, she added: “When the reservation is implemented and we have to give nomination to 33 per cent women, the Congress should emerge as a stronger party.”

The Women’s Reservation Bill calls for reservation of 33 per cent seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. It was passed in the Rajya Sabha in March 2010, but got stuck in a political impasse thereafter.

Dev also urged women party workers to strengthen the Congress by working at the grassroots level.

“When a party is in opposition, it can become stronger only when powerful leaders and efficient party workers are removed from top posts and sent to work at the booth level. Only those who work for the party now, when we are not in power, are true Congress workers,” she said.

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