Union Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar has stepped in to get the three Yadav leaders to support the women’s quota Bill.
He asked Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) boss Lalu Prasad and Janata Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav not to stall the Bill in the Lok Sabha, as their views on quota for Other Backward Classes and minorities could be looked into, Pawar said.
“I had a talk with them. I told them that the Bill could be amended to address their concerns in respect of Other Backward Classes and Muslim women. A reduction in the proposed 33 per cent reservation can be considered to arrive at a consensus,” he said during the concluding session of his party’s two-day national conclave at Karla, about 50 km from Pune.
The Rajya Sabha had on March 9 passed the proposal that will reserve 33 per cent of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women. To be adopted, the Bill has to be passed by the Lok Sabha and 14 of the 28 state assemblies.
Mulayam, however, appeared firm on his opposition. The Bill, the SP chief said, was a “Congress-BJP conspiracy to prevent Muslims from entering Parliament or state legislatures”.
“There are at least a dozen states without a single Muslim Lok Sabha member. The number of Muslim parliamentarians has only been declining. Under such circumstances, how can a Muslim woman be elected,” he said at a press conference in Lucknow.
Since 1952, 7,906 women have been elected to Parliament. Only 14 were Muslim, he said.
The Samajwadi chief said he was not against reservation for women, but only to the Bill in its present form.
“Other like-minded people (such as) Lalu Prasad and Sharad Yadav are with us on the issue. We will continue to fight together.”