The “Yadav” twosome of the Hindi heartland — Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad — pitchforked suddenly on the national political radar once again on Monday by preventing voting on the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament.
Demanding quota within quota to the proposed legislation, the “Big Two” of the cow belt announced withdrawal of support to the UPA coalition. Put together, the RJD and SP have a strength of 25 members in the Lok Sabha.
At a meeting, Yadav and Prasad told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that they would stick to their decision, unless their concerns are addressed and changes accordingly incorporated in the Bill.
The RJD chief then called on President Pratibha Patil, asking her not to accept the Bill “which would widen the gulf between the rich and the poor”.
Facing prospects of a split in the Janata Dal (United) because of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s sudden U-turn in the matter, party president SharadYadav — comprising the third face of the Yadav trinity — stood his ground vis-à-vis the women’s reservation bill.
Sixteen of the 20 JD(U) Lok Sabha members backed Sharad’s opposition to the Bill, while the party’s seven Rajya Sabha members endorsed the Bihar chief minister’s support to the proposed legislation.
Subsequently, JD(U) Lok Sabha MPs unanimously decided to ask party chief Sharad to hold discussions with Kumar on the Bill and direct the chief whip to issue a whip over voting on the measure in Lok Sabha.
In political wilderness for some months, Prasad and Yadav are stirred up over prospects of using the issue of the women’s reservation as a political handle to expand support base among the minority.
“Our quota within quota demand relates to concerns about the need to provide representation to minority Muslims, a senior RJD leader said.
Both Prasad and Yadav have been going ballistic against the UPA government. “This is political dacoity. We will not tolerate it,” Prasad said.
Standing alongside, the SP president said: “We are ready to lose whatever; even our membership in the House. But we will oppose the Bill as it is against social justice.”