Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh on Sunday expressed his apprehension that the male presence in Parliament and State Assemblies would become negligible in the next 10 years. Reiterating that his party was not opposed to reservation for women, he said the Women's Reservation Bill (Constitution Amendment) in its present form would prove disastrous for parliamentary democracy in the country.
Talking to journalists here, Mr. Singh said 33 per cent women elected to the Lok Sabha and Assemblies might not leave the seats won by them, and legally they could not be forced to vacate the seats. By rotational system, 33 per cent seats would again be reserved for them in the sixth year, and thus 66 per cent of the members of Parliament would be women. Their ratio would go up to 99 per cent in the 11th year from the date of adopting legislation.
By conservative estimates, in the 11th year from the date of the Bill becoming a law, women members would constitute about 80 to 85 per cent of the total strength of Parliament.
The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister accused the Congress of hatching a conspiracy to deprive Muslims of representation in Parliament and Assemblies. Mr. Singh saw a sinister design of the Congress as the Muslims voters had played an important role in the change of guard at the Centre in 1977, 1989 and 1996 Lok Sabha elections.
Mr. Singh lauded Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad and Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav for their stand on the women's Bill. He said they too were Samajwadis, who took active part in the movement launched by Jai Prakash Narain in the 1970s.
He assailed a section of the media for allegedly giving a distorted version of his views on 33 per cent reservation for women. Mr. Singh expressed unhappiness at himself, Mr. Prasad and Mr. Sharad Yadav being dubbed as the “Yadav troika.”
“Twelve Chief Ministers in the country belonged to one caste, but nothing was written about them,” he said.
The SP chief lauded the Bharatiya Janata Party MPs who opposed the Bill.
Mr. Singh threatened to launch a do-or-die agitation if 33 per cent reservation for women becomes a law.