The Government’s move to go in for Women’s Reservation Bill on Monday had its first fallout with the Samajwadi Party and the RJD announcing withdrawal of support to the coalition led by the Congress.
The decision by the SP, with 21 members in Lok Sabha, and the RJD with four, will, however, have no impact on the stability of the UPA Government. The SP and the RJD were outside supporters of the Government.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad slammed the Congress for its move to "unilaterally" go ahead with the Bill which seeks 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.
"This is a political dacoity. We will not tolerate it. We are withdrawing support to the government," said Prasad with Yadav standing by his side and supporting him. He later said, "We have withdrawn support on this issue".
He, however, was evasive when asked whether a letter withdrawing support to the Government had been given to the President.
Even if both the SP and the RJD formally withdraw support by giving letters to the President, the effective strength of UPA and its outside supporters would be around 290, well beyond the 272 mark for a simple majority.
Together, the UPA partners — Congress (208), Trinamool Congress (19), DMK (18), NCP (9), National Conference (3) and Muslim League (2) — have a strength of 259.
However, with outside supporters like BSP (21), Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (1) and JDS (3) its strength goes upto 284 in Lok Sabha. It also enjoys support of some independents in the Lower House taking the total strength to around 290.
The Lok Sabha has a strength of 543.
Mr. Yadav said that both the Congress and the BJP have been against Muslim, backward and dalit women and don’t want to give reservation to them.
“They do not want women from these sections to come forward... This has been proved now. They want to perpetuate their rule...” Mr. Yadav said.
Mr. Prasad said that from the beginning the SP, the BSP, the RJD and Sharad Yadav have made it clear that they are not anti-women and against reservation to them.
“We want reservation also for the women who work in fields, work under the NREGA scheme, backward, dalits and the Muslims,” Mr. Prasad said.
“By not giving them reservation you are neglecting a large section of women in rural India,” Mr. Prasad said.
Senior RJD leader P.C. Gupta said that the party would formally send the letter of withdrawal of support to the President if the Bill was passed in the present form.