Don`t have numbers to get Women`s Bill passed in Parliament: Congress

Parties supported Women`s Reservation Bill as Congress expressed apprehension about it in Parliament citing disruptions in current session and saying it does not have the numbers to see it through.

New Delhi: Various political parties on Thursday came out in support of the Women`s Reservation Bill even as Congress expressed apprehension about its smooth passage in Parliament citing disruptions in the current session and saying it does not have the numbers to see it through.
Some leaders also attacked Samajwadi Party and RJD for opposing provisions of the Bill, which seeks to give 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament and state assemblies, saying they were doing so despite claiming to be "disciples of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia", who strongly supported socialist reform.

Speaking at an event organised by women`s organisations to discuss the Bill, Congress MP Bhakt Charan Das said, "I do not think the Bill can come in this session. The government`s stand was that amongst the two or three important bills, the Women`s Reservation Bill, which has been passed in Rajya Sabha, should be passed in Lok Sabha.

"Today, the finance bill and railway budget was passed. It is possible that after tomorrow, Parliament session does not take place."

Das said the vote on account might take place in February but Parliament may not function then as well.

"Two months later, there would be polls and even budget session will not take place..I don`t think it can get passed as government does not have the numbers. But if the atmosphere continues to be kept like this and wait till February, it is possible that a meeting with the Speaker can take place...It can be discussed and passed in one day," he said.

The Congress MP said his party fully supported the Bill and would garner support from other political parties as well when the Bill is discussed in Parliament.

Meanwhile, JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari expressed surprise that most leaders of political parties opposing this Bill claimed to be "students of Ram Manohar Lohia".

"Mulayam Singh, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Sharadji are his disciples and they are the ones opposing it. It seems that they have deviated from the teachings of their `Guru`. Male dominating mentality has taken over them. We hope this Bill will be passed soon," Tiwari said.

Tiwari said when the Women`s Reservation Bill was taken up in Rajya Sabha, there were a lot of heated discussions in his party during a meeting at JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav`s residence. It was decided that party members were free to take any stand in both the Houses and could come out with their opinion independently, he said.

"In Rajya Sabha, our members supported the Bill and we passed it there. Let us see what has happens in Lok Sabha. Our party is in power in Bihar and for the first time in the country, in Panchayat and Municipalities, women have been given 50 per cent reservation," Tiwari said.

"Our party has left it to the members to take an independent view and I think majority are in favour of the Bill," he said.

Another Congress MP, Madhu Goud Yakshi, echoed similar views and said though Congress and its leadership were committed to getting the Bill passed, they did not have the numbers to pass it on their own.

"After Trinamool Congress and DMK withdrew support, there are not enough numbers. The party has cleared it and if the House goes on, we will press hard for the Bill," he said.

Women`s activists criticised Congress MPs at the meeting, saying the leaders did not have the political will to get the Bill passed.

NCP general secretary Devi Prasad Tripathi, who also expressed support for the Bill, said his party wanted the Bill to be passed and also that the reservation should be more than 33 per cent, as per the population.

"We are trying to pass this Bill and even talking to different political parties. Before the start of winter session of Parliament, our party leader Sharad Pawar even wrote a letter to the Prime Minister saying in this session, the women`s reservation bill should be passed and we are trying to do it," he said.

Tripathi said it was unfortunate that people who talk about Dr Ram Manohar Lohia are not allowing the Bill to be passed. "This is a democratic country where Constitution talks of equality..How can you do this to half of the population," he said.

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