The Women’s Reservation Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday by Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described passing of the Bill as Agni Pareeksha for the MPs. He called on the MPs to focus on inclusive development and empowerment of women. He assured all women that his government is committed to making this bill a law. Modi government can succeed where Dr. Manmohan Singh government had failed. “The Bill has been tabled multiple times but God has chosen me (the PM) for the pious task,” said Modi. The present government has brute majority in Lok Sabha and simple majority in Rajya Sabha with the help of allies. The Bill will be discussed by Lok Sabha on Wednesday and Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
However, those who have knowledge of the contents of the Bill claim that it is unlikely to be implemented before 2029 since reorganization of constituencies and census were mentioned in the Bill. Census will take place in 2027 and reorganization of the Lok Sabha constituencies will happen only after the census.
While the Congress president and Rajya Sabha Member Mallikharjun Kharge called upon all the parties (including the Congress) to give ticket only to educated women, Jairam Ramesh described the Bill as jumla. Sonia Gandhi, the senior Congress leader, said it was ‘their’ Bill. It was pointed out that Dr. Manmohan Singh’s UPA – 2 government had introduced the Bill in Parliament in 2010 itself. Former Congress leader Kapil Sibal said Modi should have introduced the Bill in 2014 itself and he has delayed it by more than nine years.
CPM leader Brinda Karat said the Bill was unduly delayed by the BJP government. Akhilesh Yadav, Samajvadi Party supremo, said the Bill has to clearly point out what would happen to the reservations of Dalits and Adivasis besides the OBCs. Rabdi Devi, the leader of RJD, said the fate of the backward sections has to be clearly spelt out.
AAP MLA and a minister in Delhi government Atishi accused the BJP government of feigning interest in women’s issues in view of the coming elections. A close reading of this would make it clear that the Bill is a ‘Mahila Bewakoof Banao’ or Make fool of women bill. She demanded reservation for women of 50 percent of government jobs.