The opposition on Tuesday termed as an “election jumla” the women’s reservation bill brought by the government with many leaders raising questions over the proposed legislation, contending it doesn’t account for reservation for OBC communities and that it will be effective at the earliest by the 2029 Lok Sabha polls.
Meeting a long-pending demand, the government on Tuesday introduced the Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies. However, it is unlikely to be in force for the next Lok Sabha elections in 2024 as the reservation will come into effect only after a census and delimitation exercise are completed.
Calling the bill an “election jumla” and “huge betrayal of hopes of women”, the Congress said that according to the Centre, the reservation will be effective only after census and delimitation exercise are conducted post-enactment of the bill.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the party has always supported the women’s reservation bill.
“In 2010, the Congress-UPA government got the women’s reservation bill passed in the Rajya Sabha. Just as SC-ST class has got a constitutional opportunity in politics, similarly everyone including women of OBC class should get equal opportunity through this bill,” Kharge said in a post in Hindi on X.
“There is a need to look carefully at the bill that the Modi government has brought today. In the current draft of the bill, it is written that it will be implemented only after decadal census and delimitation. This means, Modi government has probably closed the doors of women’s reservation till 2029. BJP should clarify on this,” he said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah slammed the opposition, particularly the Congress, for showing only “tokenism” on the bill and said the party has never been serious about women’s reservation in legislative bodies.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh wondered whether the Census and delimitation will be done before the 2024 elections, pointing out that the Narendra Modi government has not yet conducted the 2021 decadal Census.
In a post on X, Congress general secretary Ramesh said, “In a season of election jumlas, this one is the biggest of them all! A huge betrayal of the hopes of crores of Indian women and girls.” Congress general secretary organisation K C Venugopal said unlike the UPA’s women’s reservation bill that immediately gave women 33 per cent reservation, the NDA’s women’s reservation will kick-in only after a census and delimitation process.
“At the earliest, this will kick in for the 2029 elections. If it isn’t applicable immediately, this is just another headline management stunt by the Modi government. Further, the Bill doesn’t account for reservation for women from OBC communities. Without that, it is incomplete in its social justice agenda,” Venugopal said on X.
“The government should ensure that along with women’s reservation, representation of India’s backward communities is also guaranteed,” he said.
Former law minister and senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily slammed the government, saying bringing the bill at the last minute, the BJP thinks they can get some political advantage.
Congress MP Manish Tewari said the bill introduced by the government is a “betrayal of the women’s movement”.
“The clause 334A says the reservation will come into effect post the first census that is conducted after the constitution amendment is passed and then the delimitation exercise which would follow that. So essentially it means that before 2029 there is going to be no women’s reservation,” he said.
Senior party leader P Chidambaram said the bill is a typical example of BJP’s deceptive politics and should be called ‘Nari Shakti Mockery Adhiniyam (Bill)’ as it mocks the women of India and asks them to wait for the next Census.
“Can there be a greater jumla,” he asked.
Another ex-law minister Kapil Sibal alleged that the bill was “yet another dream” being sold by Prime Minister Modi for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and claimed that its benefits would accrue to women only in 2029.
With inputs from News18