The government needs cooperation and sharing, and not commando-style operation with "secrecy, surprise and stealth", Trinamul Congress MP Derek O'Brien said in Rajya Sabha on Thursday during a debate on the women's reservation bill.
While supporting the 128th Constitution Amendment Bill that seeks to reserve one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women, he sought that everybody be taken on board, hold a proper discussion on the matter and bring one-third reservation for women in the Rajya Sabha also.
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan said her party supports the women's reservation bill but demanded that women belonging to Other Backward Classes and the Muslim community be included in it.
"If you are really serious about giving tickets to 33 per cent of women... especially to the minority community... You talked about triple talaq. Then give tickets to them (Muslim women). If you are really serious then pass it. You have strength, make the will," she said.
Speaking in the House, TMC MP O'Brien said, "I support this bill. But when will this government learn that this is a parliamentary democracy and not an army commando operation where you need secrecy, surprise and stealth. You need cooperation and sharing." The government called for an all-party meeting on Sunday and did not mention a word about this bill, he claimed. "You had a cabinet meeting and this morning, we have been given four hours to submit amendments." The TMC MP said the opposition INDIA alliance demands that Article 334A, which the bill seeks to introduce, be removed and women's reservation be implemented from 2024.
Article 334A says the reservation shall come into effect after the delimitation is undertaken after the relevant figures for the first census have been published.
Some people are humorously saying that there is a "typographic error" in the bill and this 2024 actually meant 2034, O'Brien added.
"Get everybody on board and have a proper discussion on the subject and then bring one-third women reservation in Rajya Sabha. We will all support you. It can not be done in a hurry, but bring it. Today it's a crazy idea but it is possible, not in the next six years or 10 years," he said.
He also highlighted the efforts of TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's efforts towards women's representation, saying she gave 40 per cent of Lok Sabha tickets to women in 2019.
Participating in the discussion, Bachchan said, "I request on behalf of my party, reservation under reservation... I support 20 per cent and 15 per cent of seats reserved for women belonging to other backward classes, especially the Muslim minority and women belonging to minority communities out of the total number of seats reserved for women and to be filled by direct election of the legislative assembly of National Capital Territory of Delhi and others." She raised her doubts about the reservation for women in state legislatures, saying who knows whether it will be done by 2029 or whether women will be given tickets from seats where they will be defeated. "Just don't do it for publicity. You do a lot of publicity and spend a lot on it." BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi pointed out, "Why didn't you make provision for OBC quota in 2010 (when the bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha)." Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena (UBT) sought immediate implementation of the bill and demanded that reservations for women should also be brought in the Rajya Sabha also.
Sushil Kumar Modi alleged the bill was not passed in Lok Sabha because the then UPA government did not want this bill to be passed and obstruction was sponsored through coalition partners. Target was not an OBC reservation but now to allow this bill to pass.
Amee Yajnik and Phulo Devi Netam of the Congress, Manas Ranjan Mangraj, Sujeet Kumar and Muzibulla Khan of the BJD, Ghanshyam Tiwari and Kavita Patidar of the BJP, Ryaga Krishnaiah YSRCP, Jayant Chaudhary of RLD also supported the bill.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.