From ‘revolutionary step’ to ‘election jumla’: How political parties reacted to women’s reservation bill | India News

NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday introduced a constitutional amendment bill to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women, reviving a bill pending for 27 years for want of consensus among parties.
The government said the women’s reservation bill is aimed at enabling greater participation of women in policy-making at the state and national levels.
Leaders across political parties welcomed the bill, however, some raised issues over the delay in its implementation as it will be effective only after a Census and delimitation exercise is conducted post-enactment of the bill.
Here’s what the leaders had to say on the bill:
PM urges MPs to pass Women’s Reservation Bill unanimously
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government is committed to ensuring that the ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’ aimed at expanding women’s participation in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies becomes a law, as he urged MPs of both Houses of Parliament to pass the bill unanimously.
PM Modi said that the Women’s Reservation Bill was given approval in the Cabinet meeting on Monday, and asserted that this will strengthen democracy.
“For many years, there have been several debates and controversies around women’s reservation. On women’s reservation, there have been many efforts earlier also in Parliament. In 1996, the first bill related to this was introduced. During Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, many times Women’s Reservation Bill was brought but numbers could not be mustered for it and the dream was left unfulfilled,” Modi said.

BSP will support women’s reservation bill: Mayawati
BSP supremo Mayawati said her party will support any bill that allows reservation for women in Parliament and other legislatures, even if the party’s demand for a quota for the SC, ST and OBC within that quota is not met.
The Dalit leader said her party will welcome a bill even if it provides 50 per cent reservation for women, and the government should consider this.
Meghalaya welcomes cabinet decision for women reservation
Welcoming the Cabinet decision to reserve 33 per cent of seats in Parliament and state assemblies for women, the state’s lone female minister Ampareen Lyngdoh hailed it as a historic decision.
Lyngdoh who is the only woman minister in chief Minister Conrad K Sangma-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance expressed confidence that the decision will herald a change in the otherwise male-dominated politics of the country.
“I thank the Prime Minister for this historic decision. As women of matrilineal Meghalaya, we are very happy and we support the decision wholeheartedly,” Lyngdoh told PTI.
“The decision will herald a change in the otherwise male-dominated politics of the country,” she said, adding, “I look forward to seeing 20 women MLAs in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly”.
A great step: Mehbooba
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the Union cabinet’s decision to approve the Women’s Reservation Bill for discussion in parliament, calling it a great step.
“Having navigated the rough terrain of a predominantly male political landscape myself, I am happy to see that finally the Women Reservation bill will become a reality. Despite constituting half of the population, we are grossly underrepresented. It’s a great step,” Mufti wrote on X.
NC not against Women Reservation Bill: Omar
National Conference (NC) is not against the Women Reservation Bill and has no objection if it is implemented, party vice president Omar Abdullah said.
“When have we been against women reservation? We ourselves implemented it here in panchayats and other places. We are not against women reservation, 50 per cent of our population is our sisters, mothers, they should get a chance to become representatives of people. We have no objection to this,” Abdullah said.
‘Gimmick aimed at making some noise’: Rabri Devi
Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi said the women’s reservation bill brought by the Narendra Modi government should have provided separate quotas for those belonging to SCs, STs and OBCs.
The senior RJD leader asserted that “quota within quotas” was essential for the weaker sections of society “since it is only their first generation of women which is becoming educated and aware”.
She also alleged that the bill was “a gimmick, aimed just at making some noise” since the implementation was proposed only after a fresh round of delimitation.
Women Reservation Bill must be balanced with Dalit, backward stakes: Akhilesh
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said reservation for women should be a balance of gender justice and social justice and demanded a clarity on share of backward, Dalit, minority, and tribals in the seats set aside.
In a post on X in Hindi, Akhilesh Yadav said, “Women’s reservation should be a balance of gender justice and social justice. In this, reservation for backward, Dalit, minority, tribal women should be clear in definite percentage form.”
It’s not Women’s Reservation Bill but a bill to befool women: AAP leader Atishi
Delhi minister Atishi extended support to the Women’s Reservation Bill but also alleged that ist is a bill to befool women ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
“We welcome it. We extend our full support to this bill. There is a very limited representative of women in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Sabha as well, so definitely we welcome the bill”, Atishi said.
Meanwhile, Atishi alleged that the BJP is not interested in the wellbeing and welfare of women. “A closer reading of the provisions of the bill shows that it is ‘Mahila Bewakoof Banao’ bill,” she said.
Atishi, who holds the portfolio of women and child development, had said there is already reservation at the panchayat and municipality levels “but there has been no change in the lives of common women because of this”.
“Our request to the government will be to move beyond providing reservation just to elected representatives. We want that there should be 50 per cent reservation in all government jobs for women,” she said.
Cong dubs women’s reservation bill election jumla, huge betrayal of women’s hopes
The Congress termed as “election jumla” and “huge betrayal of hopes of women” the women’s reservation bill brought by the government, noting the Centre has stated that the reservation will be effective only after a Census and delimitation exercise is conducted post-enactment of the bill.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh wondered whether the Census and delimitation will be done before the 2024 elections, pointing out that the Narendra Modi government has not yet conducted the 2021 decadal Census.
In a post on X, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “In a season of election jumlas, this one is the biggest of them all! A huge betrayal of the hopes of crores of Indian women and girls.”
Betrayal of the women’s movement: Manish Tewari
Congress MP Manish Tewari said the bill introduced by the government is a “betrayal of the women’s movement”.
“The clause 334A says the reservation will come into effect post the first census that is conducted after the constitution amendment is passed and then the delimitation exercise which would follow that. So essentially it means that before 2029 there is going to be no women’s reservation,” he said.
If the government was serious about it, the government should have brought women’s reservation now,” Tewari said.

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