First give reservation to women in Lok Sabha, Assemblies: Sharad Pawar on Uniform Civil Code
The NCP chief pointed out the polarising views on the UCC, highlighting that several communities are not in favour
The Union government should first introduce reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies before talking about the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said, addressing reporters at a press conference in Pune on Thursday, June 29.
Pawar also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had become restless after the Opposition parties’ meeting in Patna, which was held on June 23. The next opposition meeting will take place at Bengaluru on July 13-14, he informed.
"Central government has given this issue [Uniform Civil Code] to the Law Commission and the Commission has sought proposals from various organisations. As of now, the Commission has received 900 proposals. I have no idea what is mentioned in those proposals, they did not make it public. Law Commissions, like responsible institutions, should study and work on the proposal/suggestion given to them," he told reporters.
He also said that he is worried that the Sikh community has a different stand on UCC. "The second thing in UCC is that the stand of Sikh, Jains and Christian communities should be cleared. I am worried about one thing, I heard that Sikh community has a different stand. I am collecting more information but I have listened to that Sikh community is not in favour of UCC. The stand of this community can not be ignored," he stated.
On the UCC debate, he said the NCP will make its stand clear after assessing the suggestions and demands of various communities.
But before that, reservation should be given to women in Assemblies and the Lok Sabha, which is a long-pending demand, the senior leader said.
On Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis's claims about Pawar being privy to the BJP's plans to form government in Maharashtra along with a group of NCP MLAs led by Ajit Pawar in 2019, the senior Pawar said Fadnavis should focus on women’s security in the state instead of making such comments.
Also Read: Why the Uniform Civil Code is a red herring
Sharad Pawar has always been an advocate for women's rights. In 1994, his last term as chief minister of the state, he had introduced a policy for women that marked a paradigm shift in how they were looked upon by society, not only giving them coparcenary rights (a policy later introduced nationwide by the UPA on his request) but also allowing women to determine how their husbands spent their money.
The Pawar government gave women the right to shut down the liquor shops in the villages — done simply by petitioning the collector who ordered a 'referendum' of sorts for the women alone. If more than 50 percent of them voted against the liquor outlets these were shut down within the hour without further resort to any appeals.
In the past 30 years hundreds of villages in Maharashtra have become liquor free and the women have gained more control over their earnings, even if it meant loss in excise revenue for the state. It is a policy unique to Maharashtra and exists nowhere else in the world.
In the Rajiv Gandhi years, Pawar was the first chief minister to seize on the central government's policy for 30 per cent reservation for women in local self-government bodies and introduce it in Maharashtra ahead of all other state governments.
Lately, Pawar has been quite vocal about the Modi givernment's misguided policies and its undue emphasis on UCC, which he is convinced targets Muslims more than it helps women of any community.
As a former defence minister he has also been very critical of the Modi govt's mishandling of a sensitive border state like Manipur and allowing it to go up in flames. Manipur is burning, but the Modi government is not taking any steps to bring the situation under control, the NCP chief said at the press conference on Thursday.
With inputs from Sujata Anandan