Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday promised to strive for the passage of the women's reservation bill in the Parliament and adopt a policy of zero tolerance towards atrocities on women if his party comes to power.
Gandhi said if the party is voted to power in Odisha, all women would be provided free education, be it in engineering or medical or any other field.
"There is an urgent need to provide reservation for women in state assemblies and the Lok Sabha to ensure their empowerment. The Congress is keen to ensure this," Gandhi said during an interaction with women at a convention in Jeypore town of Odisha's Koraput district.
Noting that reservation for women in panchayats has benefited women significantly, the Congress chief lamented that the number of women ministers in states like Odisha had remained "abysmally low".
Speaking on the occasion of the International Women's Day, Gandhi said: "If the Congress comes to power, our approach will be zero tolerance towards atrocities against women. They should get speedy justice."
Referring to Odisha, the Congress president said: "All women, particularly tribals, Dalits and those belonging to the backward categories, should get free education to ensure they are truly empowered."
Gandhi pointed out to the alleged rape of a woman by a BJP MLA in Uttar Pradesh last year, saying it was "unfortunate" that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had remained silent on the issue.
"In case of rape and atrocities on women, the prime minister and chief ministers must make their views clear," he added.