Reservation Bill yet to see the light of the day

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on January 13, 2018 Published on March 07, 2017

For a voice Members of the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) protesting outside Parliament House seeking passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill (file photo)   -  VV Krishnan

Despite a comfortable majority in the LS, BJP govt hasn’t ensured its passage

Seven years after being passed in the Rajya Sabha, the Women’s Reservation Bill continues to languish in the Lok Sabha, despite the ruling BJP enjoying a comfortable majority in the Lower House.

A number of women’s organisations will march to Parliament on the opening day of lap 2 of the Budget Session on Thursday, demanding the immediate passage of the Bill that promises 33 per cent reservation for women in legislatures.

In its manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had said that it is committed to implementing the Bill. “Women’s welfare and development will be accorded high priority at all levels within the government, and the BJP is committed to 33 per cent reservation in parliamentary and State Assemblies through a constitutional amendment,” the party manifesto had said.

The Congress criticised the government for its failure to deliver on the poll promise.

“They have come to power riding on women’s votes. The BJP used the women’s reservation as a tool to garner women votes and now they have failed to deliver on their promises,” said Mahila Congress President Shobha Oza. She said the Congress will support the Bill when it comes to Lok Sabha. “They can pass the Bill even without our support. But why are they hesitating to bring it to the Lok Sabha? During UPA’s tenure too, they opposed the Bill’s entry to Lok Sabha,” she said.

CPI(M) leader and General Secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association Mariam Dhawale said the delay in the passage of the Bill was reflective of the BJP’s mentality. “Ever since the Narendra Modi government came to power, a number of welfare schemes for women and children were either withdrawn or subjected to substantial reduction in allocations. We demand that the Centre immediately pass the Bill in Lok Sabha,” Dhawale said.

BJP’s Mahila Morcha president Vijaya Rahatkar said her organisation is confident of the Modi government ensuring the Bill’s passage. “It was the AB Vajpayee government that brought the Bill to Parliament. There is no obstruction before the Bill now. Modi will get the Bill passed at the earliest,” Rahatkar said.

Published on March 07, 2017
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