The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre has no intention of passing the Women's Reservation Bill despite having a resounding majority in Parliament, DMK MP Kanimozhi said here on Saturday.
Speaking at an event, ‘Women’s Reservation Bill - Chennai Dialogue', Kanimozhi said, “Although the Women's Reservation Bill was part of the BJP's election manifesto, the party has not listed it once in the 'list of business' discussed in Parliament.”
Noting that the bill was passed during the second tenure of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the parliamentarian from Tuticorin said that the bill would have been the first agenda had the UPA returned to power in the Lok Sabha polls.
“Despite support from all parties, this is the only bill that could not be passed because sharing of power is not easy, particularly in politics,” Kanimozhi said.
She also highlighted that women’s participation has grown marginally to 77 MPs in the current Lok Sabha, representing 14 per cent of the total members.
“As a party we have raised this issue many times, but I feel civil society should also actively participate and exert pressure on the government,” Kanimozhi said.
The DMK MP said while many women were themselves opposed to capital punishment, the current regime boasts of introducing capital punishment for rape cases.
Speaking at a panel discussion, the Congress MP from Tiruvallur, K Jayakumar, noted that the UPA government could not pass the bill in both houses of Parliament due to lack of support from the Samajwadi Party, on the grounds that the bill promotes 'reservation within reservation'.
“Dalits and women are naturally allies because both are discriminated on the basis of their identity,” said Villupuram MP Ravikumar. He also added that crime against women had grown every year after the NDA came to power.
The event was organised by the Centre for Social Research, Global Concerns India, Social Watch and Shakti to create a public dialogue on pushing the Women’s Reservation Bill and to have more elected women members in Parliament and state assemblies.