Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav, two prominent opponents of Women’s Reservation Bill, had a nearly 20-minute interaction with Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, but both sides appeared to have failed to convince each other.
Ms. Gandhi, who is also the UPA chairperson, used the period between two adjournments to reach out to them, who along with JD (U) chief Sharad Yadav form part of the trio, which is vehemently opposing the bill in its present form.
The SP and RJD leaders apparently utilised the time to convey their stand to Ms. Gandhi that the measure would hit the weaker sections hard.
At one point, Ms. Gandhi seemed to be suggesting to them that they should agree to go ahead with the measure in its present form and after that their ideas could be considered.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who was occupying the front row along with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, apparently seemed to be contesting their claims.
Shailendra Kumar (SP) said he told Ms. Gandhi that the way the government brought the Bill was wrong. He was later seen being gently told by party colleague and Mulayam’s son Akhilesh Yadav not to get involved when the leaders were discussing the issue.
After some time, Mr. Mulayam left the place, went back to his front row seat and was seen talking to Sharad Yadav.
Later, Mr. Sharad Yadav walked to the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, who was having consultations with her party colleagues.
When the House reassembled, Mr. Lalu and Mr. Mulayam were again in the Well along with their party members, giving a clear signal that there was no breakthrough.