All-party meet: Several parties make strong pitch for passage of women's reservation bill


New Delhi: Several political parties on Sunday made a strong pitch for the passage of the women's reservation bill during the five-day Parliament session beginning Monday, with the government asserting that an "appropriate decision will be taken at an appropriate time".

At an all-party meeting convened by the government on the eve of the session, several leaders said the long-pending bill should be tabled and hoped that it could be passed with consensus.

The bill seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies.

After the meeting, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi said an "appropriate decision will be taken at an appropriate time" on the parties' demand for the bill.

The minister said tributes were paid at the all-party meeting to security forces personnel who laid down their lives in Kashmir.

On September 13, four security forces personnel -- Colonel Manpreet Singh, Commanding Officer, 19 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Ashish Dhonchak, Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police Humayun Bhat and a soldier -- were killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district.

On the women's reservation bill, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said all opposition parties demanded its passage in this Parliament session.

BJP ally and NCP leader Praful Patel said, "We appeal to govt to pass the women's reservation bill in this Parliament session."

"We are hopeful that women's reservation bill will be passed with consensus if tabled in Parliament," he added.

Patel also said that the Parliament will shift to the new building on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi on Tuesday.

However, some regional parties demanded quota for backward classes and Scheduled Castes within the overall reservation for women, sources said. This has been a key sticking point in the passage of the bill earlier.

BJD leader Pinaki Misra said a new era should begin from the new Parliament building and the women's reservation bill should be passed.

Chowdhury told reporters that the government had informed them it was a regular session of Parliament.

"Only the government knows what its intention is. It may surprise everyone with some new agenda," he said, adding that issues such as price rise, unemployment, and the situation on the border with China were raised by his party in the meeting.

Several regional parties including the BJD and the BRS also pushed for tabling of the women's reservation bill.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the deputy leader of the House in Lok Sabha; Union Minister Piyush Goyal, the leader of the House in Rajya Sabha; and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi represented the government in the meeting.

Former prime minister and JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda, DMK's Kanimozhi, TDP's Ram Mohan Naidu, TMC's Derek O'Brien, AAP's Sanjay Singh, BJD's Sasmit Patra, BRS' K Keshava Rao, YSR Congress Party's V Vijayasai Reddy, RJD's Manoj Jha and JD(U)'s Anil Hegde and SP's Ram Gopal Yadav were also among those who attended the meeting.

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