(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) The Women's Reservation Bill, or 'Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam,' which seeks to reserve 33 percent of Lok Sabha and state legislative Assemblies seats for women, was introduced in the Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday, September 19. The bill has been condemned by Congress as a "huge betrayal of the hopes of crores of Indian women."
According to Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, the administration is only making a 'vague pledge.'
Taking to X, Ramesh stated: "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 come 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?"
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Calling the bill as "betrayal of the women's movement and their struggle," Congress MP Manish Tewari stated: "The Bill which has been introduced is unfortunately a betrayal of the women's movement and their struggle for greater representation in policy making and in legislative affairs. Clause 334 A of the Bill says that the reservation will come into effect after the first census post the passage of the Constitutional Amendment Bill and the delimitation which would follow. So essentially what it means is that under no circumstances will this reservation come into effect before 2029..."
Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal voiced his concerns over the Bill and stated that BJP wants to take a political advantage in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections.
Speaking with media, Sibal stated: "They (BJP govt) want political advantage in 2024 and want to tell women that they did such a historic thing...they should have done this in 2014. What is so historic about this?...there will be a census and delimitation before the Women's Reservation Bill is implemented. What if census and delimitation don't happen? They're just showing dreams to women that they will get reservation in 2029...they can't think anything other than politics."
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Delhi Minister Atishi stated that the main purpose of the women's reservation bill today was to "fool women," a news agency reported. Speaking to the reporters, Atishi said, "AAP supports the Women's Reservation Bill in principle but the bill which was tabled today wasn't Women's Reservation Bill, it is a bill to fool women."
On Tuesday, Rajya Sabha opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge noted that the women's reservation bill was earlier adopted in 2010, after the Centre proposed legislation seeking 33% reservation for women in Lok Sabha and legislative assembly.
While addressing Rajya Sabha at the new Parliament building, Kharge said, "They don't give us credit but I want to bring to their notice that the Women Reservation Bill was already passed in 2010 but it was stopped."
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman responded to Mallikarjun Kharge's remarks, expressing her disagreement with his sweeping statement. She stressed that it was unacceptable to claim that all political parties selected women who were not effective.
Sitharaman emphasized that she and others in leadership positions had been empowered by their respective political parties and the Prime Minister. She cited President Droupadi Murmu as an example of an empowered woman in a significant leadership role.
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