"Mission Shakti always provides women with a platform to play a leadership role. If women from the SHGs are participating in politics, we shouldn’t criticize them because it is their matter of right and choice," said Sujata R. Karthikeyan, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Mission Shakti on Monday.
She said this in reply to the allegations of Mission Shakti women being used in politics.
“Women empowerment should be holistic. You can’t divide empowerment into several parts. You can’t say someone to do business but can’t speak in political space. Empowerment is a complete process. In the Panchayat elections, despite the fact that there was a 50 percent reservation, 60 to 70 percent of women contested the elections on their own and won. In the case of Zilla Parishad, 21 women are presidents,” said Karthikeyan.
She said if women are coming to politics, it shouldn’t be criticized.
The Congress was quick to respond to what Karthikeyan said about women participating in politics.
“We are on the same page on women joining politics. We will welcome them. But we will definitely oppose the government's move to use them to do politics with the public money,” said Congress leader Bijay Patnaik.
“From what the Mission Shakti secretary said, it is proved that they (Mission Shakti women) are being encouraged with the government money and are being used in politics. It is not acceptable at all. We will oppose this,” added Patnaik.
(Reported by Jagdish Das, OTV)