Demanding implementation of the Women's Reservation Bill in the 2024 Lok Sabha poll, the Congress on Monday alleged that the legislation was brought and passed by the Narendra Modi government only to lure women voters ahead of the general election.
AICC spokesperson Ranjeet Ranjan said the Modi government had suddenly called the special session of Parliament and passed the Nari Shakti Vandhan Adhiniyam (the Bill).
But the Bill is "post-dated" as it cannot be implemented till the completion of delimitation to redraw parliamentary and assembly constituencies and the census, the Congress Rajya Sabha MP told a press conference here.
“When there is doubt on its implementation before 2029, why did the Centre call a special session of the Parliament and pass the bill?” she asked and demanded implementation of the legislation as well as the reservation for OBCs, similar to that for SCs and STs in the 2024 Lok Sabha poll.
"The government has brought the Women's Reservation Bill only to lure women voters in view of the coming Lok Sabha poll,” the Congress leader alleged.
The census, she said, was supposed to be conducted in 2019, but the Modi government did not do so. As it could not be conducted in 2019 in view of COVID-19, the census should have been conducted in 2021 or 2022. Speaking about the Congress' moves to provide reservation to women, Ranjan said former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi introduced a law reserving 33 per cent seats in local bodies and panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) for them in 1989.
But the then BJP stalwarts L K Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Jaswant Singh and Ram Jethmalani had opposed the legislation, which was passed in Lok Sabha but failed to clear the hurdle in the Rajya Sabha by just seven votes, she said.
Again in 1992, the then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao passed the bill to reserve 33 per cent of seats for women in PRIs and again in 2010 the UPA government under Manmohan Singh introduced the Women's Reservation Bill. In a reversal of what happened in 1989, the legislation was passed in the Rajya Sabha, but not in Lok Sabha due to lack of consensus among the UPA alliance parties, Ranjan added.
Senior Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Modi for the passage of the Women Reservation Bill in 2018 and 2020 respectively, she added.
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