DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Wednesday welcomed the Women’s Reservation Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha on September 19, 2023, but made a strong call to defeat the “political conspiracy” to reduce the number of Lok Sabha seats from south India, through the proposed delimitation exercise based on the new population census.
“The census hangs as a Damoclean sword over the south Indian states. We have to defeat the political conspiracy to reduce the Lok Sabha seats in south India based on the new census. Any attempt to cause injustice to Tamil Nadu, a State with high political awareness, should be nipped in the bud,” he said in a statement.
Mr. Stalin said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should assure the people that no injustice would be caused to those in south India under the guise of delimitation. “I urge the Prime Minister to dispel the fear of south Indian people,” he said.
The CM also said that if the BJP was genuine about its commitment to the Women’s Reservation Bill, it could have passed it any time during the previous nine years. “DMK MP Kanimozhi led a rally in Delhi in support of the reservation. But the BJP government did nothing. As the election to the Lok Sabha polls approaches [in 2024], and the BJP fears a defeat, it seeks to implement 33% reservation and project this as an achievement,” he alleged. He contrasted this with what he termed as the “urgency and stubbornness” shown by the BJP in bringing in legislations for certain other causes like the abrogation of Article 370 or the introduction of 10% reservation for economically weaker sections.
Mr Stalin said he would welcome and support the Bill though it had been delayed, and the BJP was bringing it in now, as an “eyewash” to divert the attention of people, from other pressing issues. “I urge those in power to also consider the fair demand that women belonging to Backward Classes (BC) and Most Backward Classes should be given reservations in the Bill,” he added.
Mr. Stalin said India was the only country that had failed to conduct a decennial census and the BJP government had not given any assurance on the issue. “It is really strange that the BJP is planning to enact a law to provide 33% reservation for women which will come into effect in 2029, and it is also not clear when the Census will take place,” he said.
Pointing out that India ranked 146 in the gender gap ratio as per the Global Gender Gap Report, 2022, Mr. Stalin the poor representation of women in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies could be corrected only by the Women’s Reservation Bill.