Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday dismissed as “too premature” the possibility of any dilution in the women’s reservation Bill.
“It is too premature,” he said after the Padma awards ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The statement comes just days ahead of the meeting of leaders of various political parties on April 5 for wider consultations on the issue.
The bill, passed in the Rajya Sabha on March 9, has faced stiff opposition from Lalu Prasad (RJD), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP) and Sharad Yadav (JD-U). They have described the bill as a “conspiracy” to “suppress” the representation of women from minorities, Dalits and backwards.
Singh said the issue was under discussion. “We will discuss with political parties how best to proceed. We are committed to consulting all political parties on the issue.”
On its part, the Congress too rejected suggestions of any dilution in the Bill. “Our stand is that it should be passed in same form in the Lok Sabha as well. We are confident of convincing everyone,” party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said.
On Tuesday, Law Minister Veerappa Moily had said the government would go ahead with the Bill in its present form in the lower house in the second phase of the budget session, beginning April 15.
On the reconstitution of the National Advisory Council (NAC) with Congress president Sonia Gandhi as its chairperson, the PM said the body would bring a “new dimension” to the working of the government. He said the council would provide “very important inputs” impacting the impulse of the civil society and people.