No consensus on women’s quota bill: Bansal

July 29th, 2011 - 5:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Over a year after the Rajya Sabha passed the women’s quota bill amidst drama, the government Friday said consensus among political parties on passing it the Lok Sabha was still elusive, thus indicating it may not see the light of the day during parliament’s 39-day-long monsoon session beginning Monday.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told reporters at the customary pre-session press conference that the government still wanted to hold extensive consultations with a cross-section of political parties before it could pass the bill that envisages reserving 33 percent of seats in parliament and state legislatures for women.

The bill figures in the list of business during the Lok Sabha’s monsoon session.

Bansal also said that there was a strong view against the use of house marshals in the Rajya Sabha on March 9 last year when the bill was passed by the upper house.

The ruling United Progressive Alliance led by the Congress had touted the passing of the bill by the upper house as a major victory for its president Sonia Gandhi, whom it said championed the cause of women and a quota for them in the elected legislative bodies.

“Strong views have been expressed by political parties against the marshals having been brought into the Rajya Sabha when the bill was passed. So the government wants to hold extensive consultations with parties before we bring it to the Lok Sabha for passing,” Bansal said when asked if the legislation will be passed in the monsoon session that is scheduled to end on Sep 8.

Bansal also noted that the Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had held discussions with political parties on arriving at a consensus on the women’s quota bill, but not much progress could be made.

The bill is finding opposition in its present form from regional parties, mainly the Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal, which want a quota within the quota for minorities, scheduled castes and tribes, and the backward classes.

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