A controversial Bill that reserves 33 per cent seats for women in Parliament and state legislatures faced opposition in the form of emotional blackmail in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
“We may not have the numbers but I will consume poison and die here but not allow the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill,” Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Sharad Yadav said.
In the Presidential address to both Houses of Parliament the government has stated that one of the first steps it wants to initiate in the next 100 days is early passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.
Participating in the debate on the motion of thanks to the President, Yadav accused the Congress of indulging in “tokenism” over the issue of reservation for women.
“The Congress party has been resorting to tokenism by appointing a woman as President and as Speaker,” Yadav said, adding that the real need was to liberate backward class women.
Sharad Yadav, Lalu Prasad (RJD) and Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP) have been the key opponents of the Bill.
Having won less than 30 seats in the new Lok Sabha, they do not have the numbers to block passage of the Bill, on which a consensus has been gathering strength.
Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani said, “My party will fully support the Bill on women’s reservation when the government brings it forward.”
He said, “This Bill is awaiting passage for a long, long time. I guess it was waiting for the 15th Lok Sabha when a woman would become the Speaker.”
The Bill requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament and has to be ratified by a 50 per cent majority in the state legislatures to be converted into law.