Aarti Dhar

Mulayam Singh, Lalu Prasad and Sharad Yadav call for wider consultations on women's quota Bill

NEW DELHI: Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday told members that nothing could be achieved by stalling the House. He announced that the government would consult “all concerned” before tabling the Women's Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha. The announcement came after opponents of the Bill disrupted the House for the fourth consecutive day.

When the House reassembled after two adjournments, Mr. Mukherjee said the government was open to consultations and recalled instances where a Bill was passed in one House but defeated in the other.

“Nothing can be achieved by stalling the House. There is a time schedule in the House and we have to comply with it. It is ultimately our right to make a constitutional amendment or not,” he said.

Earlier in the day. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad and Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav made a strong appeal for wider consultations and a possible consensus on the Constitutional Amendment Bill.

Mr. Prasad said the three parties were not against reservation for women. The Congress was overlooking the interests of Muslims and OBCs who had voted it to power. “Let me tell you that MPs from the Congress and the BJP have been calling us for help to save their seats.” He said he took exception to the way women danced outside the All-India Congress Committee headquarters waving the national flag when the Bill was passed.

Expressing displeasure at the manner members were physically removed from the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday when the Bill was voted, Mr. Yadav said it was against the democratic traditions of the country.

‘80% MPs against Bill'

He claimed that 80 per cent of the MPs were against the Bill, and if it was put to vote without issuing a whip, the legislation would be defeated on the floor of the House.

“If it does not happen, I will resign,” he said amidst thumping of desks by many members from the National Democratic Alliance as well.

Mr. Yadav also alleged that personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force were pushed into the Rajya Sabha as marshals.

Mr. Mulayam Singh described the Bill as a conspiracy to disturb the social order as it would guarantee privileges to the already privileged.

Responding to members, Mr. Mukherjee said the doubts and issues raised by some parties could be discussed and debated in the House.

“The fact of the matter is that there is divergence of view over the issue and these parties [opposing the Bill] also represent a certain view. There were discussions but unfortunately we could not reach consensus,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

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