New Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav on Friday said he would kill himself by consuming poison if the Women’s Reservation Bill was passed in its present form. Speaking in the Lok Sabha during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, Mr. Yadav argued that women should be freed from caste prejudices first.

Conceding that his party did not have the numbers to oppose the Bill if it was sought to be passed, Mr. Yadav said he had nothing against women’s reservation per se but the policy could not turn a blind eye to reality. Further, he was of the view that mere tokenism like having a woman as President of India or Speaker of the Lok Sabha would not empower women.

With his remarks regarding consuming poison creating a furore, Mr. Yadav clarified outside the House that he had been misunderstood and he had no intention of committing suicide. He said the context was Socrates refusing to change his view despite being given poison.

Earlier, initiating the discussion on the Motion of Thanks, Congress leader Girija Vyas launched a veiled attack on the BJP saying its ideology of “hate speeches” and “raking up” of religious issues had been rejected by the people. “In this election, people gave a strong message to the BJP and its so-called principles. The BJP misled people in the name of Prime Minister-in-waiting and Ram temple,” she said.

Without naming any BJP leader, Ms. Vyas made apparent references to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi, and said: “The kind of harsh words that came from Gujarat and a youth from Uttar Pradesh were rejected by the people.”

Seconding the Motion of Thanks moved by Ms. Vyas, Congress member P.C. Chacko made out a case for early passage of the women’s Bill. He said those opposing the Bill should not come in the way of its passage.

In his intervention, B. Mahatab (Biju Janata Dal) described the President’s address as an “impressive wish list” and if half of the ambitious charter is fulfilled, then it would change India’s destiny.