AIPWA Symposium in Patna on ‘Where are the Women’s Questions in this Election’?

THE All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) organized a symposium on the topic ‘Where are the women’s questions in this election?’ on 9 April 2019 at Darbhanga House in Patna University. Addressing the symposium, CPIML Polit Bureau member and AIPWA National Secretary Kavita Krishnan said that if the BJP wins the 2019 election, women will lose all their hard-won rights. Therefore, the first priority for us women is to defeat the BJP in the Lok Sabha election 2019. The people will on no account give such forces another opportunity to rule the country. She further said that the BJP is a danger to our country’s democracy. The BJP is bent on ending the democratic rights of women, dalits, minorities, and weaker sections of society. This is clear from what we have seen and heard over the past 5 years. The RSS has clearly stated that there is no need for the Constitution which gives rights to women; they want to run the country according to the Manusmriti, which denies women any kind of freedom. There are provisions in the Manusmriti for barbaric kinds of torture on women and dalits. The BJP is hoping to usher in this kind of rule where the Manusmrti will replace our Constitution.

Kavita Krishnan further said that the BJP in its Manifesto speaks of 33% reservation for women but its leaders and Ministers are totally against this. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath openly opposes 33% reservation for women. He has written many articles against women’s reservation which have regularly been published in RSS publications. That is why the BJP could not bring the women’s reservation Bill despite it being a part of its 2014 Manifesto. She said that the BJP targets whichever section or community that demands their rights. RSS publication Panchajanya calls JNU a ‘citadel of divisiveness’. It questions why there are special provisions in this University for women, dalits, students from the North-East, weaker sections etc; it asks why such campuses speak of women’s emancipation and of ending the caste system. The BJP says these slogans are anti-national. But what is the truth? The truth is that it is the people from BJP who are today dividing the country more than anyone else and causing divisiveness among Hindus and Muslims across the country. They are deliberately creating an atmosphere of hatred; Muslims are being killed, dalits are being beaten up, and women are being insulted and violated.

She said that the BJP’s ‘Beti Bachao’ (Save Daughters) slogan has been converted into ‘Balatkari Bachao’ (Save the Rapist). More than 60% of the funds for this project were spent on advertisements for the Prime Minister instead of on daughters (or women). Thus, this has become nothing but an advertising propaganda project. 85% of those who got gas connections under the Ujjwala scheme are unable to use it because of the unaffordable cost of LPG. Lakhs of people lost their jobs due to demonetization, and women bore the heaviest brunt of this disaster. About 88 lakhs of women were deprived of their livelihoods. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to teach this government a lesson. All the promises and projects of the past 5 years have failed abjectly. Kavita Krishnan also said that this government thinks of women’s bodies as mere machines and just wants to use these ‘machines’. BJP people are not allowing menstruating women to enter Sabarimala in Kerala despite the Supreme Court order. This patriarchal-Brahminical mindset needs to be broken at all costs.

In her Presidential address, Prof Bharti S Kumar said that the BJP and its ideology is completely anti-women, and such an ideology has to be fought at every step. She said that we women cannot and will not tolerate such a government for the next 5 years, so it is our responsibility to raise our voice strongly on women’s issues and against this patriarchal thinking. Earlier, the program had started with songs led by Hirawal artist Priti Prabha and the welcoming of participants by AIPWA Bihar State Secretary Shashi Yadav. The symposium was attended by a large number of students and research scholars of Patna University.

AIPWA in Patna