It may be keen to be seen as a key supporter of the Women’s Reservation Bill, but repeated public dissent by some of its senior Members of Parliament (MPs) has become an embarrassment for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Close on the heels of deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde’s advocacy of an OBC sub-quota within the Bill, the party may be headed for further problems on this count.
The original dissenter, Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath, remains adamant on opposing the party line a month after he voiced public dissent against it.
“There is no question of a whip in favour of the Bill; we are public representatives and not bonded labour,” he told Hindustan Times on Monday. “We will push for a discussion in the party with all MPs on the women’s quota issue, as was decided during the meeting at Advaniji’s residence. This must happen, or I will resign as MP. Air-conditioned room people in Delhi cannot decide public policy,” he added.
Adityanath said he rejected the Bill with or without a sub-quota. “This Bill will drown the Indian political system if it goes through.”
Meanwhile, the party has officially reiterated its support for the Bill. “The BJP remains committed to the Bill in its present form,” party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Writing to HT recently, Adityanath said: “There is women’s reservation at present at local levels. How does this affect their domestic responsibilities like childcare? It should be assessed whether women’s quota does not affect these roles. What we see at present is not too enthusing. Still, it should be continued as an experiment. If we find later that it has been successful, only then should we extend it to a quota in Parliament.”
He added: “If men develop feminine traits, they become gods, but if women develop masculine traits they become demons… Western ideas of women’s liberation should be properly analysed in the Indian context.”