Women Legislators’ Conference kicks off in New Delhi for the first time

New Delhi(PTI): A first-ever Women Legislators’ Conference kicks off here today which could make a strong pitch for women’s reservation in Lok Sabha and the state Assemblies, an issue hanging fire for long.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who is organising the meet, said there is no formal plan to bring a resolution on the issue, but suggested it all depends on how the discussions take shape during the meet.

Addressing a press conference on the two-day meet which is to be inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee, she said it would provide a platform to women legislators across the country to interact and learn from their counterparts, women Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, MPs and eminent women in the judiciary and bureaucracy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday address the valedictory session of the meet, which is expected to be attended by some 300 women MLAs, MLCs, Union ministers and Chief Ministers as also former President Pratibha Patil.
Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalithaa, respectively, the West Bengal and Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers, are not attending the meet due to elections in their states while BSP supremo Mayawati has prior political commitments.
Speaker of Bangladesh legislature Shirin Chaudhary will be present at the inaugural session which will be moderated by BJP MP Poonam Mahajan. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will address the session.
Titled ‘Women Legislators: Building Resurgent India’, the meet’s inaugural session will be addressed by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari and Mahajan.
While Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel will chair a session, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will head another.
Asked whether she would allow only women members to speak in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, which is International Women’s Day, as suggested by the Prime Minister, she said the proposal was under consideration.