The Congress on Monday alleged the Narendra Modi government was unwilling to implement the Women’s Reservation Bill and only wanted to showcase it as an election gimmick.
Speaking to reporters here, the AICC national coordinator for social media and digital platforms Bhavya Narsimhamurthy demanded that the government implement the bill without delay.
The bill to reserve one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women received the parliamentary nod last week.
The 128th Constitution amendment bill called the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, will be implemented after a delimitation exercise to redraw parliamentary and assembly constituencies based on the census, which the government has said will be commissioned next year.
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Narsimhamurthy recalled that in 1989, then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi introduced a law reserving 33 per cent of seats in local bodies for women.
“However, when the bill was introduced, BJP stalwarts L K Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Yashwant Singh and Ram Jethmalani voted against it. The bill was passed in Lok Sabha but failed to clear Rajya Sabha by only seven votes,” Narsimhamurthy claimed.
In December 1992, then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao championed the passage of the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution, which reserved one-third of seats for women in Panchayati Raj institutions and offices of the chairperson at all levels of the Panchayati Raj institutions, and in urban local bodies respectively, she said.
“In several states, seats were reserved for women within the quotas for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Today, the vision of Rajiv Gandhi has led to the empowerment of 15 lakh women, around 40 per cent of elected representatives in India,” Narsimhamurthy claimed.
In 2010, the UPA government under Manmohan Singh introduced the Women’s Reservation Bill, and it passed the Rajya Sabha, she said.
“However, because of the lack of consensus, the bill was not passed in Lok Sabha,” she said.
The bills introduced or passed in Rajya Sabha do not lapse. Hence, the Women’s Reservation Bill remained very much active, she said.
”Why did the Modi government not implement the bill for nine and half years despite the BJP having a full majority? The government was imposing conditions of Census and delimitation as delaying tactics,” she alleged.