Editorial with Sujit Nair: Women's Reservation Bill | Sonia Gandhi | PM Modi | Parliament Session

5 months ago
In this editorial episode, Mr. Sujit Nair discusses the introduction of the Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament by Arjun Ram Meghwal. The Union cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has granted approval for a constitutional amendment bill aimed at providing reservations for women in Parliament and state assemblies. This development clears the way for the historic bill to be presented during the ongoing special parliamentary session.

Certain BJP members have indicated that the new bill may differ from the 2010 version and could potentially extend reservation beyond the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. Notably, the 2010 bill did not include a provision for a ""quota within a quota,"" which had been a significant demand from various regional parties.

Efforts to legislate reservations for women in the legislature have been made since 1996, but previous attempts have all fallen short. In 2010, the UPA government succeeded in passing the bill in the Rajya Sabha but faced pressure from coalition allies and couldn't bring it to the Lok Sabha.

This time, the bill is expected to have a smoother path to approval. The ruling NDA, along with its ally BJD, as well as key opposition parties including the Congress, Trinamool, BRS, and Left, are anticipated to support the bill in Parliament. Together, it is projected to garner the support of 431 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 175 in the Rajya Sabha.

Shortly after the Union cabinet meeting concluded, Union Minister of State for Food Processing and Jal Shakti, Prahalad Singh Patel, stated, ""Only the Modi government had the moral courage to fulfill the demand for women's reservation, which was demonstrated by the cabinet's approval.""

Rajya Sabha MP Mahesh Jethamalani emphasized, ""PM Modi's Cabinet has taken a significant step in favor of women's empowerment by approving the Women's Reservation Bill, providing for 1/3 representation for women in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies.""

The Union cabinet meeting occurred on a Monday, deviating from its usual Wednesday schedule. The extended meeting lasted around 1.5 hours, but no official announcements were made regarding the decisions taken.

Shortly after the cabinet meeting, the Congress party attempted to claim credit for its prior advocacy for women's reservation. Jairam Ramesh of Congress shared a 2018 letter from party leader Rahul Gandhi urging Modi to introduce the Women's Reservation Bill and quoted Gandhi's tweet expressing support for its passage. Ramesh also emphasized that the Congress has long-standing support for women's reservation and called for transparency in discussing the bill during the all-party meeting before the Special Session.

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