With the government determined to go ahead with the Women's Reservation Bill, a meeting of leaders of political parties in the Lok Sabha has been convened in New Delhi on April 5.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is Leader of the Lok Sabha, has convened the meeting against the backdrop of strong reservations by the Yadav trio -- Mulayam Singh, Lalu Prasad and Sharad -- over the bill which has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha.
Mayawati-led BSP has also been opposing the bill in its present form. The bill seeks to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has been instrumental in taking initiative for the passage in the Rajya Sabha of the Bill which is being hailed as "historic".
Law Minister M Veerappa Moily yesterday said the government is going ahead with the bill in its present form in the Lok Sabha in the second phase of the Budget session beginning April 15. He has denied that there would be any changes in the bill.
The bill has evoked sharp opposition from the Yadav trio, who have been demanding a quota within quota for women from backward communities and minorities. Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad have threatened to withdraw support if the government pushes the bill in its present form.
Dishing out a somewhat controversial argument, Mulayam had gone to the extent of saying that the bill would only help those belonging to families of industrialists and bureaucrats and whom youths would "whistle" at.
He said not a single male would be elected to the Lok Sabha 10 years after the bill comes into force and advocated quota for the fairer sex within political parties.
Union minister Mamata Banerjee, facing assembly elections in West Bengal next year, had been working in tandem with the Yadav trio, given the fact that the state has an estimated 27 per cent Muslim population which reportedly has reservations over the bill.
Banerjee is insisting that the government should take everyone along and especially UPA allies like RJD and SP which are providing crucial outside support to the government.
While the BJP had supported the Bill in the Rajya Sabha along with the Left parties, a section in the BJP is having reservations over the bill.