Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal United (JDU) leader Nitish Kumar asserted on Wednesday that the BJP-led government at the Centre will not implement the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam — the 128th Constitution amendment bill to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and all state legislative Assemblies.
He also batted for a pan-India caste census and requested the Centre to provide reservations to women belonging to the scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST), other backward castes (OBC) and extremely backward castes (EBC) categories in the bill.
“I have been demanding reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and the state Assemblies since my younger days when I was a member of Parliament. It is a good thing that it is happening. But, they (the Modi government) will not implement it,” Nitish told reporters while conducting a surprise inspection of the state secretariat in Patna.
“They should have conducted the census on time in 2021. It has to be conducted every 10 years but that has not happened. Therefore this is going to be delayed,” he added.
Even if the bill is passed by Parliament during this ongoing special session, its linking to the delimitation process, which in turn depends on the census held after 2026, will clearly delay it.
Nitish did not elaborate on whether he meant to say that the present dispensation at the Centre would not be at the helm at the time of its implementation. “We have called for a caste-based census. Similarly, we demand reservation for SC, ST, OBC and EBC women in the Lok Sabha and all Assemblies. This is our request to the Centre,” Nitish said.
The chief minister pointed out that his government had provided 50 per cent reservation to women in panchayati raj institutions in 2006 and extended it to the urban local bodies in 2007.
“This was followed up with 50 per cent reservation for women in the recruitment of primary teachers up to Class V since 2006, and 35 per cent reservation for women in all government jobs since 2016. The number of women in Bihar police is more than the police in any other state. We started the Jeevika project to organise women into self-help groups for livelihood and empowerment. There are 10.47 lakh such groups with 1.3 crore women as members,” Nitish said.