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Govt unlikely to bring women`s quota bill in LS this session

Last Updated: Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 11:30

New Delhi: With political consensus missing and the government facing hard times on some fronts, the Women`s Reservation Bill is unlikely to be brought in the Lok Sabha this session, which concludes on May 7.

"Are we short of problems that we add one more to it," said a senior Congress leader and Union Minister when asked whether the government was going ahead with the bill in the
Lok Sabha in this session.

He said there were no plans to bring the bill in the remaining part of this session, underlining the fact that the government`s priority was to get the financial business passed
and desist from any fresh controversy.

The government had so far been saying that the bill would be introduced in the Lok Sabha this session.

It has changed its opinion in view of differences among leaders at an all-party meeting held earlier this month to break the logjam over the bill and the Yadav trio declaring a
virtual war on the issue.

Mulayam Singh (SP), Lalu Prasad (RJD) and Sharad Yadav
(JD-U), staunch opponents to the Bill, are sticking to their
demand for quota within quota and UPA ally Trinamool Congress
has also joined the chorus.

The 21-member SP and four-member RJD are outside
supporters of the government and have threatened to withdraw
support if it went ahead with the bill.

Not only did consensus elude the meeting, RJD and SP
utilised the meeting of 13 parties to discuss price rise to
garner support for their cause.

The bill has taken a back seat in the government`s scheme
of things in view of the BJP and the 13-party grouping brought
together by the Left parties planning to corner the government
on the price rise issue.

Left parties were on the side of the Congress as also the
BJP in the passage of the Constitutional amendment bill in the
Rajya Sabha.

The bill envisages 33 percent quota for women in the Lok
Sabha and state assemblies.

Now, a section in the BJP is also singing a different
tune on the issue with senior leader Gopinath Munde saying
that there should be quota for OBC women in assemblies and the
Lok Sabha and he would press his party to take this view.

Though he described this as his "personal opinion", Munde
had said "I will persevere to have my party take this view."

Opposition has also drawn up plans to give the
Congress-led government a tough time with the BJP-led NDA
making it clear that it would coordinate with other parties in
bringing a cut motion to force rollback of the hike in prices
of petroleum products and fertilisers.

BJP has 116 members while its allies JD(U) has 20, Shiv
Sena 11 and Akali Dal four.

The 13 non-NDA and non-UPA parties, which have been
brought together by the Left parties and account for 87 MPs,
have also decided to bring a cut motion.

Congress-led UPA has a strength of around 265 members,
including some independents and BSP`s action of not attending
the meeting of 13-party grouping has raised its comfort level
in the event of a crisis in the 543-member House.

A cut motion puts to test the strength of the government
in the Lok Sabha. If the motion is adopted, it amounts to
defeat of the government on a money matter.


First Published: Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 11:30
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