Cancellation of Club Class
The Indian Women’s Press Club will now move from its bungalow in Lutyens Delhi to an apartment in Chanakyapuri. The director of the Department of Estates, Housing and Urban Development served the club with a vacancy notice in May asking for the “maintenance” of 5 Windsor Place, the bungalow that had housed the Women’s Press Corps since the early 1990s. end of July was given. Part of the charm of the club was its proximity to Parliament and the family atmosphere, down to a reading room and a few computers for those who wanted a workstation. The fact that it did not serve alcohol but focused on home-cooked food added to its appeal as it became a nesting place for journalists on the beat. The alternate location will clearly not be as convenient. This comes against the backdrop of some takeovers at another club, Delhi Gymkhana Club. With incredible personal purpose through a cabal of members spurred on by a power-hungry ousted president, the club has literally handed over its keys to the government. Now control is under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, and one can only speculate on its future. The signs are worrying. Recently, club members were asked to fill out a copious form with data that is already available with club records. Apparently the goal is to check how many members belong to the same family. But the very statutes that formed the club had provided for the inclusion of family members, because it was intended as a family club. However, if the MCA is successful in obtaining a permanent takeover, this is a provision that will be permanently changed. As it stands, there has been a decision to remove widowed women, but this has been put on hold for the time being. However, if the club members want to blame anyone, it is not the MCA but the thwarted egos and vested interests of the cabal that have gone against theirs.
Will it be Smriti vs. Sonia in Rae Bareli?
The battle lines are clearly drawn between the BJP and Congress after the Smriti-Sonia showdown in Parliament. With Congress not backing down, it appears the narrative is being set for the next round of elections, with both parties trying to show their commitment to the cause of women. Congress is busy reminding all who care that they are the ones who introduced the Women’s Reservation Bill, while the BJP walks around claiming that a Congress leader insulted the President of India (although Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has since sent an apologetic note to the President). But the only bright side of Congress is that Sonia Gandhi is back in leadership mode. It’s one of those rare occasions when she leads from the front and the party is thrilled because, clearly, they see a more winnable face in her than Rahul Gandhi. But what about Smriti Irani? She’s not one to sit down. In fact, if the buzz is good, then Smriti might just switch constituencies and face Sonia in Rae Bareli in the next general election. This is of course if Sonia disputes, depending on her state of health. But we can expect more old-fashioned political confrontations because neither side is ready to back down.
Women’s Reservation Bill
Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi pull the Women’s Reservation Bill out of the closet and push it through? Aside from the Smriti-Sonia fracas, her own politics have been geared towards women. Most of his programs, from Ujjwala to the abolition of triple talaq and free food grains, target female voters, who have rewarded his trust with votes. Women remain Modi’s most loyal vote bank and if he ensures this bill passes under his watch, the prime minister will have a surefire constituency. So could this be something the PMO is thinking about?