Tearing into the Opposition Congress over its view on gender equality and Muslim appeasement policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday appealed to the grand old party to support the BJP government's efforts for women empowerment in the form of Triple Talaq bill. Speaking on the Motion of Thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind's address in Parliament, Modi remembered the Congress of its two missed opportunities - the enforcement of the Uniform Civil Code and the Shah Bano case.
"Congress missed two opportunities on the issue of women empowerment. They first missed in 1950s when Uniform Civil Code was being debated and then again in Shah Bano case in 1985. Today there is a third chance to support women empowerment- we have brought the Triple Talaq bill, please do not link it to religion," the prime minister was quoted as saying in the Lok Sabha.
Taking another potshot at the Congress, PM Modi also gave a mention of the "they can lie in a gutter" statement made by one of the party leaders in the context of the Shah Bano case. The Congress leader said former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was opposed to overturning the Supreme Court verdict in the Shah Bano case, but was forced to do so by his advisors. "It was not the job of the Congress to reform the Muslims, if they want to lie in the gutter let them be," he was quoted as saying.
On June 21, the fresh triple talaq bill was introduced by the government in Lok Sabha amid vehement protests by opposition members who claimed that it was violative of the Constitution. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019 became the first legislation to be tabled in Parliament by the Narendra Modi dispensation in its second term. It was introduced following a division of votes, with 186 members supporting and 74 opposing it.
During the tenure of the 16th Lok Sabha, the bill had lapsed as it could not be passed by Parliament owing to stiff resistance from the opposition including the Congress for allegedly being against fundamental rights. The Opposition is the of the opinion that the bill violates constitutional rights as it stipulates three-year jail term for guilty Muslim men while non-Muslim men get only one year of jail term for a similar offence.