Women's organisations and MPs on Wednesday met Home Minister Shivraj Patil and urged him to bring the Women's Reservation Bill in the current session of Parliament, granting 33 per cent reservation to fair sex in Parliament and state legislatures.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said the Home Minister assured them that the bill would certainly be brought in Parliament. However, the time could be decided only after deliberations with various political parties.
Karat said they asked the Home Minister to bring the bill in the current session of Parliament only. Whatever amendments or changes were required in the bill could be brought after deliberations in Parliament and then it could be passed.
She said the women's organisations and MPs from various parties would also meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on this issue. They have sought time from Manmohan Singh in this regard.
Noted Gandhian and Rajya Sabha member Nirmala Deshpande said the struggle of women groups to get 33 per cent reservation for women would continue. "We will struggle till the time we succeed."
A Congress MP in the delegation said 33 per cent reservation for women was part of the Congress manifesto in the Common Minimum Programme of UPA and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi was strongly in favour of it.
So, the women MPs of the party would go all out to get the reservation bill introduced in Parliament.
The MPs from all parties, including Congress, CPI(M), Telugu Desam Party and representatives from ten women's organisations were on dharna at Jantar Mantar on the issue of granting 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament and legislatures.
The organisations included All India Democratic Women's Association, All India Women's Conference, Centre for Women's Development Studies, Forum for Rights of Children, Guild of Service, Joint Women's Programme, Muslim Women's Forum, National Federation of Indian Women, SAMA and Young Women's Christian Association of India.
Charging the previous NDA government of doing just lip service to the bill, they said the UPA was also adopting the same tactics of continuous postponement.
They were also equally versatile in putting forth some pretext or the other, sometime in the name of a new formula, at other time in the name of bringing other parties into its fold in search of that "elusive consensus" yet again.
"We will not allow the government to continue with the same tactics. It will have to bring and pass the bill in the present monsoon session. We will all have to exercise and mobilise our maximum strength to force them to pass the bill," the women's organisations said in a statement.
They went on dharna from today on themes like 'Panchayat to Parliament', 'Profession to Parliament' and 'Platform to Parliament.' The dharna was aimed at making clear to all the political parties that the expansion and strengthening of democracy could only take place by passing the Women's Reservation Bill urgently.