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Another logjam on Women’s Reservation Bill

The meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar saw the Shiv Sena demanding that parties should have a quota for women in ticket distribution.



New Delhi: Yet another effort to reach a
consensus on the Women`s Reservation Bill failed to make any
progress with two major political parties staying away from an
all-party meeting on Wednesday and others opposed to the measure sticking to their guns.

The meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar
saw the Shiv Sena demanding that parties should have a quota
for women in ticket distribution, while RJD insisted that
there should be a "quota within quota" for OBC women.

The SP and BSP stayed away from the meeting which was
attended by BJP, Left parties, AIADMK, DMK, SAD and TMC. SP
and BSP are opposed to the Women`s Reservation Bill in its
present form.

"I will call SP and BSP separately to discuss the
issue... Efforts will continue till consensus is achieved,"
Kumar told reporters after the meeting, adding that another
meeting would be convened before the monsoon session.

Those present in the meeting were of the opinion that
the Bill should be brought in the Lok Sabha in the Monsoon
session of Parliament which begins on August 1. The Bill was
passed in Rajya Sabha in March, 2010.

Shiv Sena MP Ananth Geete told the meeting that
instead of a 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha
and State Assemblies, political parties should be asked to
have a similar quantum of reservation for women while
distributing tickets to their candidates.

RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad demanded that there
should be a "quota within quota" for OBC women in the 33 per
cent reservation.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj asked the Speaker
to evolve a consensus before the Bill is brought in the House
to prevent acrimonious scenes that were witnessed in the Rajya
Sabha when the Bill was passed in March, 2010.

"Members who disagree should be given a chance to put
across their views and be allowed to press for amendments and
even walkout. In the Rajya Sabha marshals had to be used. But
no similar scenes should be repeated in the Lok Sabha,"
Swaraj said.

She maintained that the BJP had supported the Bill in
Rajya Sabha and would take the same stand in the Lower House.

The bill granting 33 per cent reservation for women in
the Lok Sabha and state assemblies was passed by the Rajya
Sabha after two days of high drama in March 2010.

The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill has been
hanging fire for close to 14 years due to lack of political
consensus on the issue. It was first drafted by the H D Deve
Gowda-led United Front government and introduced in Parliament
in September, 1996.

Kumar said the meeting was called after several
members expressed the desire on International Women`s Day that
a meeting of political leaders from all parties should be held
to discuss the Bill.

PTI

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