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Updated: March 7, 2010 20:50 IST

Govt. hails consensus as RJD issues whip against women’s Bill

PTI
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A woman labourer works on a pavement outside the Parliament in New Delhi on Sunday. The Women’s Reservation Bill will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. Photo: V.V.Krishnan
A woman labourer works on a pavement outside the Parliament in New Delhi on Sunday. The Women’s Reservation Bill will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. Photo: V.V.Krishnan

Government on Sunday hailed the consensus among major political parties on Women’s Reservation Bill and said no single party could claim credit for it.

“People of the country, the women and Parliament will take the credit. There is no partition in this credit,” Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, who will table the Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, told reporters here.

He was asked to comment on the BJP taking credit for the bill as it had also moved it in the Lok Sabha. The bill could not be passed then due to strong opposition from some parties.

Stating that the proposed Constitutional amendment was the only “remedy” to provide adequate representation to women, the Law Minister said, “After all, the country needs such a legislation... with all our best of intentions, the political parties could not evolve a system where adequate representation to be made available to women,” he said.

RJD issues whip

Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janta Dal, which opposes the Bill in its present form, has issued a whip to its members asking them to register their protest on Monday when the bill would be tabled in the Rajya Sabha.

“RJD has issued a whip asking its members to protest the Bill in its present form,” senior party leader and former union minister Prem Chand Gupta told PTI on Sunday. The party has four members each in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

The Lalu Prasad-led RJD and Samajwadi Party are opposing the Bill in its present form, demanding quota-within-quota for OBC women.

Mr. Prasad said if the BJP and the Congress should allow their party members to vote according to their conscience on the Bill and then see what real support exists for it.

He also said the Congress “by ignoring old friends” is pushing for the Bill with the support of the BJP, which will not prove good for the party in the long run. “They (Congress) should have first tried to build a consensus on the Bill and not gone for it with rigidity,” he added.

Bill dangerous: Mulayam

Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday termed the Bill “dangerous”, adding empowerment of women should be rather done through quota in government jobs.

He alleged that the legislation was a “conspiracy” to prevent Muslims, Dalits, and backward classes from entering Parliament and State Assemblies.

“SP is not against reservation to women, but we are against the present format of the bill, which is a conspiracy by the Congress and the BJP to prevent Muslims, backwards and Dalits to get elected to the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas,” Mr. Yadav told reporters here.

“It’s not an allegation, it’s a reality as Congress and BJP had always been anti-Muslim, anti-backward and anti-Dalit. Therefore, they want to amend the Constitution,” he alleged.

“This bill is dangerous as women have been included in reservation being extended to Muslims, OBCs and SC/ST. If this bill is enacted, especially Muslims and OBCs would be at the receiving end,” he said. “It’s a big conspiracy not to allow leadership grow among Muslims, OBCs and Dalits,” he alleged.

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