Let women’s bill be passed, Pawar tells opposing parties

March 18th, 2010 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Parties pressing for representation for minorities and other backward classes (OBCs) should let the women’s reservation bill be passed in the Lok Sabha, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said Thursday and suggested that other quotas could be “discussed later”.
The Nationalist Congress Party president and agriculture minister, who had earlier suggested women’s quota be reduced from 33 percent to 20-21 percent to help arrive at a consensus, said he had discussed the contentious bill with his “friends” opposing the bill.

Their complaint was that there was no reservation for minorities or OBCs, he told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

“First, let the bill be passed with 33 percent quota for women,” Pawar said and added that the question of other quotas could be discussed later.

According to the minister, the bill should be passed in Lok Sabha as it was passed by the Rajya Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha had March 9 passed the historic bill giving one-third representation to women in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures.

He had said at an NCP rally in Karla near Pune last week that he had told Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad and Janata Dal-United’s Sharad Yadav not to stall the passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha as their views on quotas for OBCs and minorities could be considered.

The Congress had rejected Pawar’s suggestions that quotas be reduced to aid consensus.

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