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Opposition Slams BJP's 'Delayed Tactics' on Women's Reservation Bill Before 2024 Elections

The JD-U said it was the ruling party's panic reaction after the formation of the opposition coalition INDIA.
Parliamentarians in the Lok Sabha during a special session of the Parliament, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. (PTI Photo)

Parliamentarians in the Lok Sabha during a special session of the Parliament, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: Opposition parties on Wednesday alleged that the women's reservation bill was a 'jumla' of the BJP-led central government ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. 

The parties criticised the Narendra Modi-led government for adding the caveat in the bill that it will come into effect after the delimitation of Lok Sabha constituencies, which will be carried out after the completion of the next population census.

The Janata Dal (United) said it was the ruling party's panic reaction after the formation of the opposition coalition INDIA.

Participating in a debate on the bill in Lok Sabha, JD(U) leader Rajiv Ranjan Singh called the measure a "jumla" of the Narendra Modi government aimed at winning the 2024 parliamentary elections.

Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the Constitution amendment bill, Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam-2023, which seeks to reserve 33 per cent seats in Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women, in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. 

Speaking on the debate on the bill, Singh claimed that had the Narendra Modi government been serious, it would have conducted the caste census, which the opposition parties have been demanding for a long time.

 "This government has no intention of empowering women. Their only intention is to capture power," he said.

Extending her party's support to the women's reservation bill, Congress parliamentary party chief Sonia Gandhi demanded that the quota be implemented immediately and provision be made for reservation for OBC women. She said any delay in bringing the reservation into effect would be "gross injustice" to Indian women.

"Rajiv Gandhi's dream is only half fulfilled. It will be fulfilled with the passage of this bill. The Congress supports this bill. We will be happy with the passage of this bill but we also have a concern. I want to ask a question. For the last 13 years, Indian women have been waiting for their political responsibilities, and now they are being asked to wait for a few more years -- two years, four years, six years, eight years," the former Congress chief said.

Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the Trinamool Congress alleged that the Modi government has made a "sinister" move by linking the implementation of the women's reservation bill with the completion of the next population census and delimitation exercise.

Referring to recent protests by some wrestlers, the TMC leader claimed that the "golden girls" who brought medals for India in sports were in Jantar Mantar protesting against the alleged sexual harassment while the alleged perpetrator was sitting among the lawmakers in Parliament.

Participating in the discussion, DMK leader Kanimozhi said the clause pertaining to 'after delimitation' in the bill should be removed as there could be an inordinate delay in the implementation of the reservation. "How long should we wait to see this bill implemented?" she asked. 

Kanimozhi stressed that the politics of tokenism must evolve into politics of ideas. "This bill is called the 'Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam'. Stop saluting us. We don't want to be saluted, we don't want to be put on pedestals, we do not want to be worshipped... we want to be respected as equals," she said.

Bahujan Samaj Party MP Sangeeta Azad said her party wholeheartedly supports the bill as it will empower women and give encouragement them.

Meanwhile, BSP chief Mayawati urged the Centre to delink the women's reservation bill from the census and delimitation exercises that would "delay" its implementation for years. She added that certain provisions of the bill were framed in such a manner that the benefit of the reservation would not reach women for the next 15 or 16 years, or "several elections" later.

Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader Nama Nageswara Rao demanded that the bill be enforced immediately after it is passed by Parliament or otherwise the government must declare when the census operation and delimitation exercise will be completed.

(With PTI inputs)

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