BJP believes women should be treated as second-class citizens: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, May 23 (PTI) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday claimed the BJP believes women should be treated as “second-class citizens” and that its ideological parent RSS does not allow women to enter its ‘shakhas’.

Addressing an all-women poll meeting in Mangolpuri in support of the Congress’ North West Delhi Lok Sabha seat candidate Udit Raj, Gandhi said though the BJP passed the women’s reservation bill in Parliament with much pomp and show, later it said that it will be implemented after 10 years.

On the last day of campaigning for the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 25, Gandhi also took a metro ride and interacted with people.

“Met fellow passengers and enquired about their well-being — I am happy to see that our initiative of building metro in Delhi has proved so convenient for public transportation,” the former Congress president said in a post on X in Hindi.

He also shared pictures of him interacting and clicking pictures with passengers in the metro.

Speaking at the poll meeting, Gandhi said working women have to do a second shift of chores after getting home and their efforts go unnoticed.

“In India, we talk about every section of society but rarely is the work that working women do at home mentioned. When they come home after a long day at work, women have to start a second shift. They have to take care of their children, make food and do other chores but they don’t get paid for this shift.

“If men work for eight hours, you (women) work for 16 hours and there is no compensation for your work. It is a kind of unpaid and unrecognised work,” he added.

Stressing that the Congress does not want women to do unpaid work, Gandhi reiterated his party’s promise of introducing the Mahalaxmi Yojana if it is voted to power.

Under this scheme, the Congress has promised to provide Rs 8,500 per month and Rs 1 lakh annually to women from families living below the poverty line.

Targeting the BJP over the women’s reservation law, Gandhi said, “They passed the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam in the Parliament with much pomp and show to give reservation to women (in Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies). But later, they said we will implement this after 10 years once the survey (census) is completed.”

“There is an ideology behind this. Do you know… the RSS does not enrol women? Women cannot enter there (shakhas). This belief is deeply ingrained in their minds that women should be treated as second-class citizens,” he alleged.

The Congress leader also promised to increase the reservation of women in all government jobs if his party is voted to power.

At another poll meeting in northeast Delhi’s Dilshad Garden in support of Congress candidate Kanhaiya Kumar, Gandhi claimed the BJP always wanted to “tear and throw away” the Constitution.

“They never accepted the Indian Constitution or the Indian flag. In this election, they have finally accepted that they want to change it,” he charged.

“This election is a fight for safeguarding the Indian Constitution. It is not simply a book, our Constitution carries thousands of years of ideological heritage of Gandhi, Ambedkar and Nehru ji,” he said.

He said the BJP will have to face the Congress and crores of people of India if it tries to change the Constitution.

Gandhi’s remarks came a day after the Election Commission asked the Congress to ensure that its star campaigners and candidates do not make statements which give the false impression that the Constitution may be abolished or sold.

Thursday was the last day of campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi. All seven parliamentary constituencies in the national capital go to polls on May 25.

Votes for all seven phases of the elections will be counted on June 4.

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