Tuesday, December 5th, 2023

Women’s reservation, which side will the camel sit on?

Nirmal Rani

The Central Government had called the 13th session of the 17th Lok Sabha and the 261st session of the Rajya Sabha special for five days between 18th and 22nd September. These were called as special sessions. No party or leader had any official knowledge of the agenda of this special session of Parliament. Yes, various kinds of speculations were definitely being made. The successful landing of Chandrayaan-3, convening of G-20 and India’s goals were likely to be the subject of wide-ranging discussions during the session. It was also expected that perhaps the government might take a decision to name the country only Bharat instead of INDIA. There were also speculations that there might be a decision on the Uniform Civil Code, a decision on ‘One Country One Election’ or the formalities of saying goodbye to the old Parliament House and entering the newly constructed Parliament House would be completed. One of these speculations was that Women’s Reservation Bill should also be passed in the pre-election period of various states. However, many parties including Shiv Sena had expressed surprise when the date between 18th to 22nd September was chosen for this session. Because during these days, important festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi were being organized in large parts of the country. And many politicians remain busy in this festival. Shiv Sena (Uddhav) had expressed surprise over the dates chosen for this and had even said – “Convening this special session during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is unfortunate and against Hindu sentiments.

But this special session of Parliament was definitely called but the special session which was to last till 22nd September was ended on 21st September itself. That is, the session was prorogued a day before its scheduled deadline. Meanwhile, the government constituted a committee under the chairmanship of former President Ram Nath Kovind to explore the possibility of ‘one country one election’. Remembering the great leaders of the country’s Parliament, goodbye was said to the old Parliament House and the session was also started in the new Parliament House. And along with this, the long pending bill on women’s reservation was also introduced and passed. It got unprecedented support in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. It seems that this bill took the form of an Act with the unanimous consent of the opposition. And the government named this bill populistly as ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Act’. The Act will now require the approval of state legislatures. And there is a provision to implement it on the basis of new census and after delimitation of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats. According to the government, the Women’s Reservation Bill is not likely to be implemented till the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. As soon as this Act came into force, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was given a grand welcome by the party women at the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters. At the same time it became clear that this issue of women’s reservation was going to become the main issue in the upcoming elections. While speaking on this issue in Parliament also, the opposition, especially the Congress, had demanded its immediate implementation. It also became clear that Congress is also not going to lag behind in taking credit for the issue of women’s reservation.

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It is noteworthy that assembly elections are going to be held in Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Rajasthan between November-December this year. After this, along with Lok Sabha elections, assembly elections will also be held in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in May-June next year. Therefore, both BJP and Congress, i.e. the opposition, have fully geared up to attack the vote bank of half the population on the pretext of women’s reservation issue. Congress is calling it the dream bill of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Congress is questioning the intentions of the Modi government for not implementing it immediately. Calling the government’s condition of implementing women’s reservation after census and delimitation an excuse, the government is raising questions on its intentions. On September 25, 21 prominent women leaders of the Congress Party organized a press conference in 21 cities of Uttar Pradesh and most of the capitals of the country to corner the government for not immediately implementing women’s reservation and to call this bill a contribution of Congress. Was done. And it has been indicated that from all future assembly elections till Lok Sabha elections, Congress is going to leave no stone unturned in taking credit for this bill and holding BJP responsible for not implementing it immediately. Especially after the formation of the opposition alliance INDIA, the courage of the Congress is even higher and the entire opposition will also try to ensure that the BJP does not take credit for this issue under any circumstances.

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On the other hand, on behalf of the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has launched an aggressive campaign to take credit for the Women’s Reservation Act and also hold Congress responsible for it taking three decades. Recently, while addressing the party workers’ conference on the birth anniversary of Jan Sangh’s co-founder Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay in Bhopal, the capital of the electoral state Madhya Pradesh, the Prime Minister spoke in this manner – he said – “Today a large number of my sisters More daughters have come. The guarantee given to you by Modi was also fulfilled. A few days ago, the law to reserve 33 percent seats for women in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha was passed. The country was waiting for this for a long time. If Modi is there, then every guarantee is guaranteed to be fulfilled. I want to caution the sisters of the entire country including MP. Congress and its new arrogant alliance have supported us with a sour heart out of compulsion. They have done it with a heartless heart. This sourness is visible in their statements. The people in their alliance are the same people who did not allow the law to be passed for 30 years. They created ruckus in the Parliament and tore the bills. Now out of compulsion they have supported the bill. Now when they understood that their behavior and character had come in front of everyone, then they started asking, why didn’t they do this, why didn’t they do that.”

While the aggression being shown by both BJP and Congress towards each other regarding women’s reservation will prove in the upcoming elections how much this issue will affect half the population, the attitude of the same half of the population towards it will also decide that ‘Women On which side will the ‘camel of reservation’ sit?

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