Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar on Monday loudly and clearly stated that regardless of any opposition to it, the Women’s Reservation Bill would be passed in both houses of Parliament.

“There is a debate raging in the Parliament on the Bill. But now, it is clear that women will get their due in both the Houses,” said Mr. Kumar, addressing a large congregation of women in an ‘Empowerment Conclave’ organized by the JD (U)’s women wing.

Mr. Kumar said that “it was essential and important that the Bill be passed now.”

The Chief Minister’s emphatic reiteration of his support for the Bill pits him against JD (U) National President Sharad Yadav, who is vehemently opposing the passage of the Bill.

“I am not worried about what I have said. I think it was right as the time is ripe for the passage of the Bill. Hence, I will appeal to my party members who are opposing it to reconsider their stand on the matter,” said Mr. Kumar.

Changing with times

Defending his note of dissent submitted to the Joint Parliamentary Committee set up to examine the bill, Mr. Kumar commented, “One’s thought - process ought to be modified according to the times. I was essentially well–disposed towards the Bill even then, albeit with the caveat of reservation for backward women,” said Mr. Kumar.

Offering a forceful riposte to Rashtriya Janata Dal Supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav for branding him a bahurupiya (one who changes colours), Mr. Kumar said that “people like Mr. Prasad merely spewed socialist ideals while treating women as their ghulam (servant).”

“Here I am striving to improve the condition of women in Bihar and he calls me such names” he said.

Mr. Kumar that the whole country was now following Bihar’s initiative to introduce 50 per cent reservation for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and local bodies.

“More important than reservation, we have paid attention to their education as well. Due to our schemes like ‘Akshar Aanchal’ and practice of giving bicycles to middle school girls, female literacy levels are steadily rising in the state. More and more girls from the villages have started going to schools as a result,” he said, adding “women in Bihar should not be dominated or ruled over by men anymore.”