Women MPs in Rajya Sabha, cutting across party lines, nudged the BJP-led government on Friday to use its brute majority in Lok Sabha to ensure passage of a legislation providing 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament and state legislatures.
The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, commonly known as the Women’s Reservation Bill, was passed by Rajya Sabha in 2010, but is awaiting nod of Lok Sabha.
Women members spoke in favour of the legislation after Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu allowed short submissions. He converted notices from some members for a discussions into matters that could be raised during the Friday Zero Hour.
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan said that her party was not against the Bill but wanted sub-reservation to be provided for dalits. Also political parties should be given right to choose the seats or constituencies from where they wish to field 33 per cent women, she said.
“There are unnecessary rumours that our party is against the Bill. We are not against the women’s reservation bill. We are for the reservation bill but we have certain recommendations,” she said, adding the “Bill is cosmetic in its present form”.
Jharna Das Baidya (CPM) said that the BJP has absolute majority in Lok Sabha but has not got the women’s reservation bill passed.
V Thota Seetharama Lakshmi (TDP) said that her party supports the legislation and appealed to the government to ensure its passage in the lower house.
Shanta Chhetri (TMC) said that her party gave one-third of tickets to women in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and West Bengal has already provided 50 per cent reservation to women in local bodies.
Vijila Sathyananth (AIADMK) urged the government to bring the bill and ensure its passage it in Lok Sabha. “You have enormous majority” to pass the legislation, she said.
She also asked the government to confer Bharat Ratna on late AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa, whom she described as the “greatest leader of the century”.
Kanimozhi (DMK) said the Right, Left and Centre are supporting the bill, yet it has not been passed in Lok Sabha for nine years.
“It is very sad that women have to put up with decisions made by men throughout their lives. Even here men are making decision for women,” she said, asking the government to bring the women’s reservation bill in Lok Sabha.
She said that her party supports the legislation.
“There is so much discrimination against women in the country,” she said citing the controversy over entry of women in Sabarimala temple.
Sonal Mansingh (nominated) said that the rotational provision in the bill needs attention and detailing.
Women in legislatures will bring “grace, wisdom and harmony”, she said.
Congress member Viplove Thakur said there cannot be women empowerment until they become decision-makers.
She said that the ruling BJP had promised reservation for women in Parliament and now the Lok Sabha should pass the bill already cleared by the Upper House.
Kahkashan Parween (JD-U) said the Chief Minister of Bihar has already implemented women reservation in local bodies. She said several women are heading Zila Parishads and are also mayors.
BJP member Sampatya Uikey said her party is empowering women.