Sonia Gandhi vs BJP In Lok Sabha On Women’s Reservation Bill

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New Delhi:

The discussion on the Women’s Reservation Bill saw a face-off between the Congress and the BJP in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. While former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi demanded a reservation for Other Backward Classes and immediate implementation of the bill, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey accused the party of saying new things for political angles and claimed that it had never spoken about an OBC quota in the context of the reservation for women legislators. 

As the first speaker from the Opposition on the bill, Mrs Gandhi said her party supports the legislation, but demanded a reservation for Other Backward Classes within the 33% quota for women. She also said that speaking on the bill was an emotional moment for her as her husband Rajiv Gandhi was the first to  introduce a bill on reservation for women in local bodies. 

‘A Long Journey’

Speaking in Hindi, the former Congress chief said, “On behalf of the Indian National Congress, I stand here in support of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. From smoke-filled kitchens to flood-lit stadiums, the Indian woman’s journey has been a long one. But she has finally reached her destination.”

Stating that women have fought shoulder-to-shoulder with men in the fight for Independence and the creation of a new India, she said, “Speaking on this bill is an emotional moment for me because the constitutional amendment providing reservation for women in local bodies had been tabled by my husband Rajiv Gandhi. It was a Congress government under PV Narasimha Rao that had got it passed. Rajiv Gandhi’s dream has only been half fulfilled so far and will be fulfilled with the passage of this bill.”

Mrs Gandhi said that while her party supports the bill, women are being asked to wait longer to get their rights. “How many years will they have to wait, two, four, eight? Is this right? The Congress demands that the bill be implemented immediately. A caste census must also be conducted and a provision must be made for reservation for women from the SC, ST and OBC communities. The government should take all the steps needed for this. Delaying this would be doing gross injustice to women.”

BJP Hits Back

Pointing out that the bill already has a provision for reservation for women from the SC and ST communities, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said the Congress and the Opposition had not tabled the bill all these years and are now upset because Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP had showed the courage to do so. 

“The Prime Minister has been saying it is the right time, this is the time (to pass the bill). We are proud of him for calling this special session to table this bill and give respect, and reservation, to the women of this country,” he said.

Hitting out at the Congress, Mr Dubey said, “This country runs on the Constitution. They have been patting themselves on the back for introducing reservation for women in panchayats and local bodies. They never spoke about, or provided for, OBC reservation. They are bringing up new things for political angles.”

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