New Delhi: Lack of political will and unanimity among political outfits to ensure reservation for women, the Bill supporting 33 per cent reservation for women in the state Assemblies and the Parliament could not be introduced in the Winter Session of the Parliament.
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which has been spearheading the demand for 33 per cent reservation for women in legislative institutions, is miffed over the overall development, as its efforts to get the backing of all political parties on the issue proved to be futile.
Commenting on the issue, BJD Rajya Sabha MP Prasanna Acharya alleged the ruling dispensation at Centre of harbouring “double standards”. He said that the Centre brought the triple talaq Bill to empower Muslim women, but did not take any step towards reservation for women in the Assemblies and Parliament.
He said the Union government has introduced a Bill to provide 10 per cent reservation to the economically weaker sections of the society in jobs and education and got it passed both Houses of the Parliament in the last two days.
“If you can bring and pass a Bill for reservation in jobs and education in just two days, which is good, why can’t you introduce the women’s reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha and pass it too,” asks Acharya.
During the Parliament session, several MPs from different political parties, including the BJD, urged the Bill be introduced in the Lok Sabha. However, despite having a brute majority and support from the Opposition, the BJP-led Union government apparently showed no interest in introducing the Bill.
Significantly, the 108th Constitution Amendment Bill, for 33 per cent reservation to women’s in state Assemblies and Parliament, has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha in March 2010.
It may be mentioned here that the introduction and passage of women’s reservation Bill was among the main agenda of the BJD in the Winter Session of the Parliament. During the all-party meeting before the commencement of the session, BJD had sought support from all the political parties for the introduction and passage of women’s reservation Bill.
The BJD MPs had also met the presidents and leaders of several national and regional political parties. Many party leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, extended their support to the cause.
Ironically, Acharya said, they have tried to contact BJP president Amit Shah five times on this issue, but the latter didn’t speak to them even once. He even did not give the BJD leaders time for a meeting.
The BJP had promised in its manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha election that it would provide 33 per cent reservation to women in state Assemblies and Parliament through a constitutional amendment. However, even after four-and-a-half years of NDA rule at the Centre, one of the significant promises made by the party remained unfulfilled.