A day after Congress President Sonia Gandhi wrote a letter to Narendra Modi urging him to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill, a senior BJP leader said the government is brainstorming over the bill, PTI reported. He also said that the top echelons of the government are discussing if the bill will be brought-in in its original form or if there should be some changes. When asked if the bill will be introduced in the Winter Session, the leader, on condition of anonymity, said, “It may be introduced. But a final call has not been taken yet.”
The Women’s Reservation Bill that seeks to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women has been pending since 2010. It was first introduced by the United Front government in 1996 and eventually was passed in the Upper House by the UPA government in 2010.
The bill has polarised the political class whenever attempts were made to introduce it later. It not only faced resistance from the national parties, including the BJP, Congress and the Left; but also from regional outfits. Many leaders across the political lines believe that such a law will give an advantage to women who are better educated and come from upper castes.
Leaders like RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and former Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav have opposed the bill bitterly and have also demanded that the quantum of reservation must be less than 33.33 per cent and also that the quota must include reservation for women from minorities and OBCs.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday wrote a letter to PM Modi, urging him to introduce the bill passed by taking advantage of its majority in the Lok Sabha. However, many BJP leaders claimed that Gandhi was doing politics over the matter and said the UPA government did not introduce the bill in the Lok Sabha as it could not overcome opposition from within its own ranks.
Meanwhile, many in the BJP also feel that in case the government succeeds in getting this constitutional amendment bill passed in Parliament, the party can boost its prospects ahead of the upcoming 2019 General Elections.
(With PTI inputs)