Young girls who attended the Rashtrawadi Congress Yuvati (RCY) congregation left senior leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) party in a fix with their reservations regarding concerns of their safety and other issues in the city.
With questions ranging from the rising incidents of sexual harassment, to the law and order situation, the girls felt their grievances go unheeded at the local level, and hence raised their concerns in front of national and state level leaders of the NCP who assembled at the function yesterday. The meet was presided by MP Supriya Sule, former deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Rajyasabha MP Vandana Chavan and Mayor Vaishali Bankar.
Anushri Yadav, a school student, who was unaware about the work protocol of MPs and other senior level state leaders, shared her local problems at the state level congregation. Yadav stated that she was scared to leave her residence after seven in the evening due to fear of hooligans in her area. She said that no one from her area was listening to her grievances, and therefore it compelled her to raise her apprehensions in front of the national and state level leadership.
The local issues plaguing the girls were put forward before national and state level leaders despite the fact that 51 corporators represent the party in the Pune Municipal Corporation, and more importantly the post of Mayor is with the party.
Another schoolgirl stated that she felt insecure while travelling in PMPML buses and was frustrated with the behaviour of bus conductors and male commuters. The girl demanded special PMPML buses only for women.
Another girl put the party top brass in a face saving moment when she informed them that one of their party worker’s who arranged a local level general knowledge competition failed to deliver on his promise. The girl stated that despite the winner of the competition being promised a laptop, the organiser didn’t keep his word. She claimed that she stood first in the competition, but hasn’t received her reward yet.
All India Democratic Women’s Association, Maharashtra unit chief, Kiran Moghe said, “Why are the girls compelled to use a state level platform for the redressal of their grievances? It’s because their complaints aren’t resolved by corporators and other local leaders.”
The fiery questions by the girls compelled MP Sule and former deputy CM Pawar to take cognisance of their grievances, and they asked local representatives to look into the issue at the earliest. MP Supriya Sule, also stated that since girls were more comfortable sharing their problems with her rather than male corporators from their area, they chose this event to vent their gripes. “Issues like sexual harassment are so sensitive that girls preferred to share it with me rather than male corporators. There is no question of failure of local representatives. The girls are comfortable sharing their problems with me,” said Sule.
MP Vandana Chavan, too, denied that local representatives failed to address the problems of the girls. Chavan said that the main reason of establishing the RCY was to provide a platform for women so that their voices could be heard, irrespective of the nature of their questions.
MP Supriya Sule while addressing the media said that former deputy CM Ajit Pawar’s resignation from the post was his personal choice, and that his stature in the party has enhanced, after he resigned. When asked why Pawar’s presence has suddenly increased at party events, Sule said that earlier he had responsibility of the state, which didn’t allow him to take part in party events. Replying to a query whether the Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare and PWD Minister Chagan Bhujbal should also resign over the alleged involvement in the irrigation scam, Sule said that it would be entirely their [Tatkare and Bhujbal] prerogative.