Table quota bill in monsoon session, demand women’s groups

May 4th, 2010 - 10:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) With the government failing to introduce the women’s reservation bill in the Lok Sabha this session, women’s organisations Tuesday demanded that the proposed legislation should not be put into cold storage again and should be tabled in the monsoon session of parliament.
“We will continue to put pressure on the Congress - one session has already been wasted. As soon as the next session is notified, women from across the country will come forward to press for passage of the bill,” All India Democratic Women’s Association president Subhashini Ali said at a gathering of over 35 groups of women.

The women’s reservation bill, that provides for 33 percent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, was passed by the Rajya Sabha in March this year. It has, however, not yet been moved in the Lok Sabha, despite assurances by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

The Samajwadi Party (SP), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and sections of the Janta Dal-United (JD-U) are opposed to the bill and are seeking sub-quota for backward classes, Dalits and minorities within the overall 33 percent reservation for women.

While JD-U leader Sharad Yadav was highly critical of the bill in the present form, his party colleague and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supported the proposed legislation.

The variance of position within the party was demonstrated by the presence of JD-U’s Rajya Sabha member Shivanand Tiwari at the meeting of the women’s organisations.

“There is difference in the party. Some members want reservation within reservation for backward classes and minority. However, at the panchayat level, backward class women have won from general seats,” he said, adding that Bihar was the first state to implement 50 percent reservation for women at panchayat level.

National Commission for Women chief Girija Vyas assured the assembled women activists that the government was serious about moving the bill in the Lok Sabha, but did not give a schedule.

“It will definitely be passed,” Vyas said. When IANS asked her for the time frame for the passage of the bill, she added: “Let’s see when it is tabled.”

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