Special Correspondent

Success of reservation at grass roots should encourage Parliament to follow suit: Manmohan

  • More than 50,000 women elected from general wards
  • Lakhs of women now in the mainstream of governance

    NEW DELHI: The Women's Reservation Bill will be introduced in the ongoing Parliament session.

    The decision was taken at a meeting of the United Progressive Alliance and supporting Left parties at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's house here on Wedesday.

    The Bill provides for one-third reservation for women in Parliament and the State Legislatures.

    The Rashtriya Janata Dal, which was in the forefront of opposing the Bill in its present form, reportedly agreed to its introduction, sources in the Left parties said here.

    The Left parties and the UPA constituents also discussed how to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led opposition, which has been making an issue of clemency to Mohammad Afzal, accused in the Parliament attack case.

    The Opposition has also indicated that it will move a resolution declaring Arunachal Pradesh an integral part of India. This follows the remarks of the Chinese Ambassador on the subject.

    The Prime Minister later hosted dinner to the UPA allies and supporting parties. Among others, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, his CPI counterpart A.B. Bardhan and CPI secretary D. Raja attended it.

    Earlier speaking at a meeting on "State of the panchayats, 2006: mid-term review and appraisal" here, Dr. Singh said the success of women's reservation at the grass roots should encourage Parliament to follow suit. He said reservation for women, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in panchayats combined political and social empowerment.

    The share of women substantially exceeded the reserved quota, with around 50,000 women elected from general, unreserved wards. This was a remarkable success in bringing lakhs of women into the mainstream of governance.

    It was particularly worth underlining that a larger proportion of SC/ST women was getting elected over and above the quota.

    "I think it would be fair to say that there are now more women in India in positions of elective authority than in the rest of the world put together. I trust this will encourage Parliament to follow suit," Dr. Singh said.

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