The Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad did not give any dissent note to the Women's Reservation Bill when it was discussed in the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
In fact, Mr. Prasad, who is a member of the Committee, attended only one meeting, the Congress said on Wednesday. However, the dissent note over reserving 33 per cent for women in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies came from two members of the Samajwadi Party.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party have been opposing the Bill from the beginning and insisting on a quota for the backward class and Muslim women within the quota.
“Only two members from the Samajwadi Party, Virendra Bhatia and Shailendra Kumar, gave a note for reducing the quota from 33 per cent to 20 per cent. A similar demand was made by some members of the Congress also, but unofficially,'' a party leader said.
At a routine party briefing, Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said the Women's Reservation Bill would not be diluted and it would be brought and passed in the Lok Sabha in its original form.
“We are fully confident that all our allies will be with us and the Women's Reservation Bill will be passed in the Lok Sabha,'' she said, ruling out any reduction in the quota despite the Nationalist Congress Party suggesting that a reduction could lead to a consensus.
“No pressure from allies”
Denying pressure from the allies to reduce the percentage of reservation, Ms. Natarajan said it would be discussed with the allies. But the government was committed to passing the Bill in the present form.
She said the Standing Committee on the Bill had considered all aspects and come to the conclusion that the Bill should be passed as it was. Any changes, if required, could be introduced subsequently.