By floating women's quota balloon, BJP plays on Oppn discomfort

Patna, Sep 9 (IANS): The Central government has called for a special session of Parliament but not disclosed the agenda. There is a buzz that a bill for 33% reservation for women may be tabled.

This has turned into a hot topic in political corridors especially before the Lok Sabha polls in 2024.

However, the 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies is not a new issue which may be brought by the ruling NDA but it would be one of those points where the consensus of the opposition parties could be different.


After the formation of INDIA, the opposition parties are united against almost all the agendas set by the BJP and the RSS. The 33% reservation for women could be one such agenda.

In the past, parties like the RJD, JD-U, Samajwadi party had opposed this bill in Parliament.

The 33% reservation was first tabled during the United Front government of HD Deve Gowda in 1996 but failed to get through in both the Houses of Parliament. The same thing happened during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. The 33% reservation bill was then tabled during the second tenure of Manmohan Singh in 2010.

At that time, Sharad Yadav of the JD-U, Lalu Prasad Yadav of the RJD and Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party strongly objected to that bill.

Sharad Yadav in particular went more vocal in the Rajya Sabha. He went into the well of the Upper House and tore the bill. He said that how could women with their hair cut and styled represent women from the villages.

While remembering those days, Shivanand Tiwari, who was also the Rajya Sabha MP of the JD-U along with Sharad Yadav, claimed that party chief Nitish Kumar had a difference of opinion on this bill at that time.

“When this bill was placed on the table in Parliament, the party’s opinion was to support it. Sharad Yadav went against the party line and strongly objected to it in the Rajya Sabha. Due to his disagreement, a meeting of all MPs of the JD-U was held at the official residence of Ram Sundar Das, I suggested that Das be a bridge between Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav. So, Nitish Kumar was in favour of that bill,” Tiwari said.

After 2010, the Narendra Modi government assumed office in 2014 and 2019 but it was not passed in Parliament.

“We are hearing that the Narendra Modi government may introduce this bill in Parliament during the special session but no one knows if it will pass in both the Houses,” Tiwari said.

“We firmly believe that reservation within reservation should take place in the country but you cannot change the mindset of women as well. They also work under the caste line,” he said.

As per the draft of 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies, one seat would be reserved for three tenures (15 years) and then it will be changed.

In states like Bihar, there is the tradition that once the seat comes under reservation for women, the male candidates bring their spouses to contest the elections. It is frequently happening in Panchayat elections in Bihar where women contest the election on reserved seats but their status is not more than puppets. All work from election campaigns to official work is taken care of by the husbands of the elected public representatives. The votes were also obtained on the basis of how influential their husbands are in their constituencies.



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Comment on this article

  • mohan prabhu, LL.D. QC, mangalore/canada

    Sat, Sep 09 2023

    Will the proposal to give Lok Sabha reservation for women generally of a third of its seats go against the principle of ONE PERSON ONE VOTE. Perhaps if such a ridiculous proposition passes in Parliament, the Supreme Court might use its power to declare the bill unconstitutional without a due amendment to the Constitution. There is at present reservation for Dalits, both ST and SC. How will the Dalit women be treated - as another special group with additional reservation? Where is INDIA (or I.N.D.I.A.)headed?

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Title: By floating women's quota balloon, BJP plays on Oppn discomfort

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