Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday promised free education for women in Odisha if his party is voted to power. He also vowed to work for the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament, PTI reported. Speaking on International Women’s Day, he also said the Congress will adopt a policy of “zero tolerance” towards atrocities against women.

“All women, particularly Adivasis, Dalits and those belonging to the backward categories, should get free education to ensure they are truly empowered,” Gandhi said at an event for women in Odisha’s Koraput. He said reservation for women in panchayats has been very beneficial, but lamented that the number of women ministers in states like Odisha remains “abysmally low”.

Gandhi claimed that in Odisha, a woman is raped every 12 minutes. He said that on the other hand, only seven get justice in a year, the Hindustan Times reported.

“There is an urgent need to provide reservation for women in state Assemblies and the Lok Sabha to ensure their empowerment,” he added.

Gandhi criticised the Narendra Modi-led government for its alleged silence on atrocities committed against women. “In case of rape and atrocities on women, the prime minister and chief ministers must make their views clear,” he said, referring to the case of a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA being accused of allegedly raping a girl in Unnao last year.

Gandhi blamed the Modi-led government’s policies for rising unemployment and crimes against women. “Jobs are not being created in India,” he said. “Unemployment leads to violence, hatred and alcoholism…Unless you face the truth, you can’t solve problems. This prime minister does not want to face the truth.”

The Congress chief said the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has a plant in Koraput. He claimed that Modi had “snatched away” the Rafale deal from Hindustan Aeronautics and given it to businessman Anil Ambani instead, who got a contract of Rs 30,000 crore.