The government introduced the Women’s Reservation Bill, proposing a 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and assemblies of states and Union territories. In this podcast, businessline’s Political Editor and Chief of Bureau- Delhi Poornima Joshi discusses the history of the bill, political reactions, and more.

This historic moment comes after a 27-year journey that began in 1996 during the United Front government’s tenure. However, the bill faced opposition from constituent parties, including the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, and Janata Dal United, leading to its inability to pass as it required a constitutional amendment.

In subsequent attempts during the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee between 1998 and 2004, the bill faced similar obstacles, with parties like the RJD and Samajwadi Party blocking its introduction. Despite strong support from leaders like Sushma Swaraj, the bill couldn’t progress due to the lack of a majority and the power of states.

The UPA government, led by the Congress, finally introduced the bill in 2008, succeeding in passing it in the Rajya Sabha. This move kept the bill alive despite not passing in the Lok Sabha. Over time, the Congress urged the Modi government to reintroduce and pass the bill. Now, on the eve of the elections, the bill has been introduced in the Lok Sabha, where the BJP has a majority, and the Congress supports it.

However, there are still issues with the bill. One provision states that it will come into effect, but the podcast ends before discussing the specifics of this provision. The bill represents a significant step toward gender equality in Indian politics and has garnered widespread support from women, making it a popular appeal for the government. Listen in.