Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh has termed the Women's Reservation Bill a Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party conspiracy against the Muslims, the Other Backward Classes and the Dalits.
The Bill was aimed at depriving these sections of representation in Parliament and the State Assemblies, he told journalists here on Sunday.
He said the BJP and the Congress were unnerved by the emergence of such leaders as Sharad Yadav, Lalu Prasad, Ram Vilas Paswan and Mulayam Singh, so they wanted to weaken them by enacting the legislation.
Mr. Mulayam Singh accused the Congress and the BJP of being hand-in-glove and dubbed them anti-Muslim, anti-Backward Class and anti-Dalit. Despite its tall claims on secularism, the Congress was not a secular party, he said. There was no Muslim MP in Parliament from a dozen States, including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.
He proposed that instead of legislation, the registered political parties be asked to give ticket to women in proportion to the proposed quota, failing which they should be de-recognised. But, under no circumstances, seats should be reserved for women in Parliament and the Assemblies.
Indicating that the Bill in its present form was elitist, Mr. Mulayam Singh said the day was not far off when bureaucrats would run the government and their wives would become members of the Lok Sabha. The Samajwadi Party would oppose the Bill and vote against it, when it would be tabled in Parliament on Monday. But he clarified that the SP was not against reservation: since the days of Ram Manohar Lohia, the socialists had always favoured representation for women. If the Congress and the BJP wanted the women to progress, they should give women 50 per cent reservation in government jobs.
He demanded that separate reservation be given to Muslim, the OBCs and a section of Dalit women, on the basis of their population, within the proposed 33 per cent quota. Unlike in the past when an amendment to the Constitution was made on the basis of consensus, the Bill would be passed without any consensus being evolved, but on the basis of two-thirds majority, he said.
Taking potshots at Sonia Gandhi, Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati, who are leading the Congress, the AIADMK, the Trinamool and the Bahujan Samaj Party, Mr. Singh asked whether these parties had given 30 per cent of the ticket to women during the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.