The National Commission for Women (NCW) is a defunct body since the BJP came to power and the chairperson today is subservient to PM Narendra Modi, charged Susmita Dev, president of the All India Mahila Congress and MP.

Reacting strongly to NCW’s notice to AICC president Rahul Gandhi for his remarks, Dev hit back asking where was the NCW when the girls of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) were assaulted. It happens to be PM Modi’s constituency. Where was the NCW when a lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh was accused of rape?

Dev went on to say that she will repeat what Rahul Gandhi had said.

When asked on Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman’s performance in the parliament over the Rafale debate, Dev said, “I am ashamed that she defended corruption.”

The Mahila Congress president said despite a majority, the Modi government betrayed women by not bringing the women’s reservation bill. The Congress did not have a majority in the house when it was in power, she noted. PM Modi talks of “beti bachao, beti padhao” but women are unsafe in the country and atrocities on women are on the rise, she said.

Mahila Congress will have a women-centric campaign with specific deliverables as part of its manifesto and election strategy, she informed.

Answering questions at a press conference here, Dev said she appreciates Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik’s efforts for 33 per cent reservation for women. But at the same time, the very fact that he did nothing in this regard for four years makes it look as a pre-poll move for votes.

It appears to be an “ afterthought” on the part of the CM and the very fact that rape cases are on the rise in Odisha, women are feeling insecure further confirms the suspicion that it is all aimed for votes, she said.

Why doesn’t Mr Naveen Patnaik take the lead and provide 33 per cent of the government jobs in the state to women, she asked.

Referring to the Pipili rape case, she said that she had visited the village and spoken to the parents of the victim.