Letter to Sardarni Harsimrat K. Badal, ‘Akali, Punjab Government, discriminated against women. Why has Akali party to failed to promote women within its ranks,’ on 09/06/2009

9 June 2009

Sardarni Harsimrat Kaur Badal
Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha)
12 - Safdarjung Road

New Delhi

Dear Bhenji,

My heartiest congratulations on your excellent and enthralling maiden Parliamentary speech, not for its content, parts of which I disagree with, but for your clarity, the confidence of your delivery and your effective use of English, Punjabi and Hindi.

I would have expected nothing less from someone of great Congress ancestry.

In 17 minutes you have made a far greater contribution to the Lok Sabha than your husband was able to demonstrate in a Parliamentary career exceeding 8 years.

You have simultaneously proven that you are a significant and refreshing departure from the typically mute MP that the Akali's have routinely deputed to Delhi.

I also hope that there will be consistency in your pro-Punjab rhetoric once Congress returns to power in Punjab.

You have raised some valid points on female inequity which all governments and political parties need to address. However, a little introspection may be in order here.

Why has the Akali party failed to effectively promote women within its ranks? In all Parliamentary elections since Badal sahib first became CM in 1970 the Akali party has nominated female candidates (including yourself), 5 times for Parliamentary elections, much lower than the 20 from Congress.

Why has there never been a female Akali Union Minister? In 1998 your party ignored Smt Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, MP from Ropar. I am proud that this UPA Government has 2 female Congress Union Ministers from Punjab.

Where is the reservation for women in your party's nominations to the SGPC elections?

Where is the reservation for women in the SGPC managed institutions?

Why are there so few female office bearers in your party?

Why has this SAD lead Punjab government singularly failed to promote women entrepreneurs?

The unfortunate truth is that all Akali governments have been grossly ineffective in addressing issues of female equality.

As a breath of fresh air in the Akali movement perhaps you could personally find time to meet:

1. every rape victim

2. every battered wife

3. every bride pining for her NRI groom to fulfil promises made

4. every NRI woman deprived of her property in Punjab by her relatives or by the land grabbing goons

5. every mother and widow that cries to high heaven that she does not have sufficient food to feed her malnourished children because agents of your party have denied her the atta and dal that is rightfully hers.

6. every mother unfairly denied her shagun scheme cheque and every grandmother her old age pension.

Only then will you get a true measure of how this Punjab government has discriminated against women.

You are widely expected to champion women centric issues. At least in Punjab I hope that you can nudge your party to deliver too.

My best wishes for a successful Parliamentary tenure.

Kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Jassi Khangura MLA

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