As women have been victims of discrimination, the government's initiative to reserve seats for them in the legislature is commendable. But how will reservation help women struggling for drinking water, health care and education? How can a woman from such a modest background even remotely think of contesting an election? Empowerment of women through reservation will remain a luxury of the affluent class, which has education, economic stability, and proximity to the corridors of power.
An independent male candidate who has done a good job in his constituency and stands a very good chance of getting re-elected may become ineligible to contest from the constituency if it is declared reserved for women. It may be possible for well-known leaders like Rahul Gandhi to get elected from any constituency. But men known only in their constituencies do not have such an advantage.
Why should one be forced to elect a woman as his or her representative? Able women do not need reservation to come to power. Our founding fathers, who were more learned than our present parliamentarians, did not feel the need for such reservation. Women's reservation in the legislatures will import ultra feminism into our country in the name of women's empowerment.
While I congratulate the Congress and other parties on displaying the political will to pass the Women's Bill in the Rajya Sabha, I appeal to them to ensure that reservation is not used by ‘upper' caste women looking for a backdoor entry into Parliament. A sub-quota for groups such as Dalit Christian women should be considered.