Cutting across party lines, Rajya Sabha MPs support women’s reservation bill
New Delhi: Cutting across party lines, Rajya Sabha members on Thursday supported the bill to provide 33 percent reservation for women in the Lower House of Parliament and state assemblies, even as some opposition members termed it an election gimmick.
During the debate in the Upper House on the 128th Constitution Amendment Bill that seeks to reserve a third of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women, members also highlighted the need to accelerate the process instead of waiting for a fresh census and delimitation exercise.
Taking part in the discussion, Elamaram Kareem of CPI(M), while supporting the bill, said the BJP had promised to bring the women’s reservation bill in 2014 and in 2019 as well but did not take any action. He held the ruling party responsible for women’s reservation losing nine years.
This is an election gimmick by the BJP after losing elections in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, besides facing defeat in the civic polls in Delhi polls, he said.
Citing violence against women in strife-torn Manipur and allegations of sexual harassment by women wrestlers, Kareem alleged the government cared little for women.
Ram Nath Thakur of the JD(U) questioned the timing of bringing the ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’.
Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MP K Keshava Rao stressed the need to accelerate the process for women’s reservation and said the 2011 Census could be taken as the benchmark. He urged immediate appointment of the delimitation commission. MDMK’s Vaiko also echoed similar sentiments.
Saroj Pandey of the BJP said it was unfortunate that questions have been raised on the timing and the intent of bringing the bill. As the country celebrates ‘Amrit Kaal’, this was the ideal moment for such a legislation, she said.
Asom Gana Parishad MP Birendra Prasad Baishya noted that the women’s reservation bill has come at a “proper time” after failed attempts in the past.
JD(S) leader H D Devegowda also supported the bill and recollected steps taken by him for women’s reservation while he was the chief minister of Karnataka and also the prime minister.
Manoj Jha of the RJD demanded that the women’s reservation bill be referred to a select committee to consider extending similar benefits to Other Backward Classes.
V Vijayasai Reddy (YSRCP) also supported the bill and said the reservation for women must also be extended to Rajya Sabha and state legislative councils.
KC Venugopal of the Congress sought immediate implementation of the legislation. He also sought reservation for the OBC women under the bill.
Venugopal claimed the Narendra Modi government did not make any effort to bring the bill in the last nine years and it is due to the political calculations that the government has brought the legislation now. “Life-transforming legislation should come from the heart and not from the head,” he said in the Upper House.
Rajani Ashokrao Patil of the Congress and Mausam Noor of the TMC also supported the bill.
Sulata Deo of the BJD, Subhas Chandra Bose Pilli of the YSRCP, Ravichandra Vaddiraju of the BRS and K Ravindra Kumar of the TDP also participated in the discussion.