Women MPs in Rajya Sabha from across the board raised the issue of the long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill, demanding that the Lok Sabha pass it along the lines of the Rajya Sabha, which had cleared the Bill in 2010, reports The Indian Express.
If the Bill is passed into law, then it’ll mandate 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and the state legislatures.
Chairman of the house and Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu allowed female parliamentarians’ notice wishing to discuss the ‘lack of proper representation for women in Parliament’. However, he told them to avoid giving their speeches a political hue.
The first to speak was Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan, who tried to dispel ‘rumours’ that her party was opposed to the Bill.
“We are not against the reservation Bill. We are for reservation, but we have certain recommendations. The Women’s Reservation Bill in its present form will only benefit rich and urban women and not poor and rural women. A provision of sub-reservation for OBC women and Dalit women should be added to the Bill. The right to choose and decide candidates and their seats should remain with the party and not the Election Commission. EC cannot have a say in this. The Bill in its present form is cosmetic,” she stated.
Other MPs took the opportunity to take a dig at the BJP. DMK’s Kanimozhi and Congress’ Viplove Thakur questioned why the Bill still hadn’t been passed, considering even the BJP had promised it in its manifesto.
“Even in Parliament and in the legislative Assemblies, we make laws and amend laws and only men are making decisions for women. It is absolutely unfair that our voices are not heard. How can you pass a Bill without voices of women being heard,” Kanimozhi asked.
Trinamool Congress MP Shanta Chhetri, CPM leader Jharna Baidya and nominated member of the house, Sonal Mansingh, were some of the other MPs who spoke during the discussion.
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