Reservation only solution for women’s representation: Oscar Fernandes (Interview)

November 23rd, 2008 - 1:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) Senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes has said the only way to ensure effective representation of women in state assemblies and parliament is reservation by law.”There should be reservation for women; this is the only solution. We have been pursuing it and are confident we will get the women’s reservation bill passed (in parliament),” Fernandes, who is chairperson of his party’s Central Election Authority, told IANS in an interview.

Asked about the low number of minority community members getting nominations to contest the on-going elections in six states, he said the Congress always tries to give proper representation to them.

“This time we tried to give as many tickets as possible to minority community candidates on the basis of reports about their prospects from the ground,” said Fernandes, 67.

In the six poll-bound states, the Congress has given 71 tickets to women, 53 to Muslims and 42 to Christians out of 717. The party has given tickets to two Buddhists.

As many as 27 of the party’s Muslim candidates are in Jammu and Kashmir, followed by 13 in Rajasthan, Delhi six, Madhya Pradesh five, and Chhattisgarh two.

Fernandes does not think inflation and terrorism will have any impact on the party’s prospects in the assembly elections. “We are confident we will form the government in all the six states,” he said.

Fernandes, who is also union labour minister, said the state election results will not have a bearing on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“Elections for a legislative assembly are fought on completely different issues from the Lok Sabha elections. We are confident we will return to power at the centre as well.”

The Congress leader was unhappy that terrorism was being politicised. “Politicisation of terrorism for narrow gains is not good for society in general and the country in particular,” he said.

Security of the country should be the most important concern for everyone and terrorism must be fought with this in mind, he felt.

“Terrorism should be seen in the light of the country’s security and not from the narrow perspective of caste, creed and religion,” Fernandes said.

Asked about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accusing the Congress of being soft on terror, he said what political parties say is different from what the government does.

“Things said by political parties are different from the decisions of the government which are taken to uphold the rule of law. The government takes decision that are best for the country,” he said.

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