SP, RJD to oppose women’s bill at all-party meet

SP, RJD to oppose women’s bill at all-party meet

New Delhi: The SP and the RJD Monday said they would oppose the Women’s Reservation Bill in its present form at an all-party meeting convened by the government and stick to their demand for quota for Muslim women and backward classes.

Ahead of the meeting convened by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is leader of Lok Sabha, to find a way out of the impasse on the bill in the Lower House, SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad said while they were not against reservation for women, they would insist on their stand of “reservation within reservation".

Rajya Sabha had last month passed the Constitution amendment bill providing for 33% reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

“We have oppose the Bill in its present form. We are not opposed to reservation for women," the SP supremo said.

Mulayam said that the bill envisaged rotation of the seats reserved for women and it is possible that in a House with 543 seats, women will fight in over 181 seats.

In such a scenario, it is possible that just around 50 of seats could be contested by men in the elections, he said.

Lalu Prasad said, “We will not oppose reservation. We will stick to our old stand of reservation within reservation. The bill must include reservation for Muslim women, women from backward classes and dalits."

CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat, however, made it clear that her party will press for the passage of the bill in the present session itself.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that in a matter where there is such a large volume of bipartisan support, the strategy should be discussed.

The bill is expected to be taken up for consideration in Lok Sabha when it resumes the budget session on 15 April.