Panaji: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's double-speak on 33 percent reservation for women has been exposed, party leader and Goa's only woman legislator Victoria Fernandes said Saturday, after failing to get a re-nomination.
Fernandes, 77, the Congress's sitting legislator from the St. Cruz constituency, has been denied a poll ticket for the March 3 assembly elections. The party has fielded two other women candidates.
The lone woman legislator in the 40-member assembly said that the Congress chief had paid lip service to women's empowerment by giving tickets only to daughters and wives of cabinet ministers.
The women candidates named by the Congress are: Valanka Alemao, daughter of Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao, from Benaulim constituency and Jennifer, Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate's wife, from Taleigao constituency.
"Sonia Gandhi used to say that the party was committed to the concept of giving 33 percent reservation to women. But the way the tickets have been distributed, it shows she says one thing and does another," an angry Fernandes told reporters here.
Fernandes said that despite assurances from Gandhi, the party allotted her seat to the controversial education minister.
"The party observers told Sonia Gandhi that I was unable to contest because I was old, sick and dying. So I met Sonia-ji and clarified in writing that I was fit and fine. But finally my seat was given to Monserrate, whose name has cropped up in a report (of the income tax department) for receiving Rs.23 crore bribe from real estate lobbies," she said.
According to Jagmeet Singh Brar, All India Congress Committee secretary in charge of Goa, they were in the process of meeting rebels and trying to convince them not to act against the party.
"Everyone will be accommodated... We are meeting everyone and trying to convince them that there is space for everyone in the party," Brar said.