Janata Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav,who said over a decade ago that he would not allow Parliament to be overrun by parkati auratein (liberated women),today threatened to commit suicide if the Bill reserving 33 per cent seats for women was passed in its present form.
How can you ignore Indias reality and pass the womens reservation Bill? We may not have the numbers but I will consume poison and die but not allow the passage of the Bill, Yadav announced in the Lok Sabha while speaking during the debate on the motion of thanks to the Presidents address.
The BJP,the JD(U)s ally in the NDA,however,came out in support of the Bill. BJP will certainly stand behind the government for the passage of the womens reservation bill, Arun Jaitley,Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha,said. BJP Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha,Sushma Swaraj,acknowledged her partys differences with the JD(U) over the Bill.
Yadav said the Congress was indulging in tokenism by appointing a woman President and Speaker instead of taking concrete steps to liberate poor and backward women.
Caste is the biggest curse, he said. The caste system has been used to suppress a large section of women. Only when the caste system is demolished will the real women of India be empowered. It cannot be done through the tokenism that the Congress is resorting to.
The womens reservation Bill was mentioned by President Pratibha Patil in her address to both Houses of Parliament yesterday as part of the governments 100-day agenda.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav have been powerful opponents of the Bill in the past. Asked if he would continue to oppose the Bill,Lalu said on Friday that he would take a decision after the bill is tabled in the House.