Govt introduces Women's Reservation Bill; Oppn calls it BJP's poll 'jumla'

MPs participate in parliamentary proceedings at the new building. Photo: X/Sansad TV

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day on Tuesday after the introduction of the women's reservation bill.

It is the first bill to be introduced in the Lower House after parliamentary proceedings shifted to the new building.

Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the Constitutional amendment bill, Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, to reserve one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women.

Speaking on the bill, Meghwal said the number of women members in the Lok Sabha will rise to 181, from 82 currently, after the bill comes into force. 

In his address earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on MPs to forget all past bitterness and start a new chapter, and pass the first bill unanimously.

"For many years, there have been several debates and controversies around women's reservation. On women's reservation, there have been many efforts earlier also in Parliament. In 1996, the first bill related to this was introduced. During Atal Bihari Vajpayee's tenure, many times Women's Reservation Bill was brought but numbers could not be mustered for it and the dream was left unfulfilled," Modi said.

"For that work of giving power to women and for many such nobel works, God has chosen me. Once again our government has taken a step in this direction. In the Cabinet yesterday, the Women's Reservation Bill was given approval. This date of September 19 is going to be etched in history," the prime minister said.

But the bill, also known as the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008, and was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010, was attacked by major opposition parties. While the Congress called it BJP's poll 'jumla' (false promise), AAP called it a bill to 'befool women'.
Huge betrayal: Congress
Taking a swipe at the government, the main opposition party Congress said the Bill is one of the biggest poll 'jumlas' and a huge betrayal to the hopes of crores of Indian women and girls. "In a season of election jumlas, this one is the biggest of them all. A huge betrayal of the hopes of crores of Indian women and girls," Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh wrote on X.

Lashing out at the government, Ramesh who is also a Rajya Sabha MP said, "As we had pointed out earlier, the Modi government has not yet conducted the 2021 Decadal Census making India the only country in G20 that has failed to carry out the Census. Now it says that the reservation for women will come into effect only following the first decadal Census conducted after the Women’s Reservation Bill has become an Act. When will this Census take place?"

"The Bill also says the reservation comes into effect only after the publication of the next Census and the subsequent delimitation exercise thereafter. Will the Census and delimitation be done before the 2024 elections? Basically, the Bill gets the headlines today with a very vague promise of its implementation date. This is nothing but EVM — EVent Management," he said.

(With inputs from PTI, IANS)

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