Women Empowerment’ – ‘UPA’ Style

via HARAN.B.R published on July 31, 2007

When Prathiba Patil was nominated as the Presidential Candidate by the UPA chairperson Sonia, it was hailed as “Historic” in the sense that, for the first time a woman candidate would be elected as the President of India, as the electoral college had the numbers on her side. It is to be noted that Prathiba’s candidature was proposed only after half a dozen male names were discussed and vetoed for one reason or the other. As a consensus was arrived only on the grounds of ‘gender’ aspect, the Congress, Left and the DMK claimed credit for the selection of the presidential candidate and hyped it as the first step towards the empowerment of women in India. These leaders, who could not assure women of 33% reservation in their own party set-up, started talking about 33% reservation for women in the Parliament, which they didn’t even bother to discuss all these years. While the pre-election process was going on, the opposition parties piled a series of well-documented allegations on Prathiba Patil, which made her antecedents & credentials look dubious and her claims on women empowerment sound stupid. In fact, a major section of socially & legally active women were unhappy in her candidature and the common womenfolk echoed the same feeling as well. But still, as the numbers were on the UPA-LEFT side, she was elected and sworn in duly. 


While she was being sworn in as the first woman President of India, another woman Police officer, who has an impeccable track record, was seen in all the TV Channels, vehemently arguing against the government for over looking her seniority & credentials in the appointment for the post of Delhi’s Commissioner of Police. The UPA government, which was boasting itself on women empowerment, has done exactly the opposite in the case of Ms.Kiran Bedi, when it overlooked her case and appointed Mr.Yudhvir singh Dadwal, her junior, as the Commissioner of Police, Delhi. The Home Ministry audaciously denied anything ‘foul’ in the process and Kiran Bedi is likely to approach the court of Law for Justice.


A similar thing happened a few months back, when Mr.Shivshankar Menon was appointed as the Foreign Secretary, overlooking the seniority of a dozen IFS officers. Ms. Veena Sikri, a 1971 batch IFS officer approached the PMO armed with RTI application and the PMO denied to give information on the appointment of Shivshankar Menon as the foreign Secretary. Now, the matter is in the Court of Law.


When the former IT & Telecommunications Miniser & Grand Nephew of DMK Supremo Karunanidhi, Dayanidhi Maran, was forced to resign from the cabinet, due to their family feud, Karunanidhi sitting at Chennai, decided to replace him with a political novice and a non-entity Ms.Radhika Selvi, who is a widow of a gangster. The UPA Chairperson and the Prime Minister duly agreed and she was inducted in to the cabinet as the Minister of state for Home Affairs! It is almost six months since her appointment and even God doesn’t know what the hell she is doing!


When the Rajya Sabha elections came, the DMK President and Chief Minister Karunanidhi, who always thinks about women empowerment, as evidenced by the remarkable induction of Radhika Selvi, chose his own daughter Kanimozhi for the membership of Rajya Sabha. Kanimozhi, unduly hailed as a “poetess” (People wonder what she had written!) by the supposedly gagged media in Tamil Nadu, is again a political novice who has been chosen for the RS, based on the only qualification of being the CM’s daughter. She has been sworn in yesterday and even the Prime Minister broke the norms and went to the extent of felicitating her with a shawl, which is unprecedented. He had to do it because she is the daughter of an important ally!


The precedent for this kind of women empowerment had been set up long back with the induction of Sonia straight away as the congress Party President and the imposing of Rabri Devi as the Chief Minister of Bihar.


Naïve & novice women with dubious antecedents are chosen and selected for constitutionally important posts and women with good career records are either overlooked or sidelined in the hierarchy of bureaucracy.

 This is “women empowerment” – UPA style. Cheers!



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