Hours before the dates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls are set to be announced, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday hinted that the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is likely to allocate 33 per cent of its Lok Sabha tickets to women.
At a massive rally of women in Kendrapara district, Patnaik said, “From this historic soil in Kendrapara, I announce that from Odisha 33 pct women will go to Parliament”. He added, “Odisha will show India the way in empowering women”.
BJD leaders confirmed the party will allocate a third of Lok Sabha tickets for women. If implemented, the BJD will be the first political party to announce such a move.
BJD which had won 20 of 21 MP seats in 2014, presently has three female MPs. Keonjhar is represented by Shakuntala Laguri, Jajpur by Rita Tarai and Kandhamal by Pratyusha Rajeshwari Singh.
Patnaik reminded the crowd of his father and former CM Biju Patnaik’s history of championing women and added that the BJD has carried forward the legacy.
“Kendrapara’s soil is Biju Babu’s soil. In 1990, Biju Babu showed the way to the nation. He gave women 33 per cent reservation (in local bodies)”, he said.
“Last year, your government for the first time passed a resolution in the Odisha assembly calling for 33 pct reservation in Parliament and legislative assemblies. I have forwarded this proposal to every political party and all CMs in India”, Patnaik said.
Earlier, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) lauded Patnaik’s government after the Odisha Assembly passed a resolution proposing 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and the state Assemblies.
“We are pleased that the Government of Odisha has showcased leadership by proposing 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and the Assemblies,” Deputy Country Representative of UN Women, Nishtha Satyam had said in a letter to Patnaik.