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Arun Jaitley says ready to discuss Women’s Reservation Bill

The Rajya Sabha passed the reservation bill on March 9, 2010. However, the Lok Sabha could not pass the proposed legislation that seeks to reserve 33 per cent of all seats in governing bodies at the Centre, State and Local level. The bill lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2018 22:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Wednesday
Arun Jaitley,Women's reservation Bill,Rajya Sabha
Finance minister Arun Jaitley speaks in the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday that the government is ready to have a discussion with the opposition leaders on the contentious Women’s Reservation Bill as a CPI (M) MP rooted for an amendment to the President’s speech in the Rajya Sabha.

Unheeded by the suggestion, CPI(M) MP T K Rangarajan moved the amendment that was defeated in the voting, leaving a wedge in the opposition unity on an issue where there was no unity among most regional parties,.

“I am suggesting to the member that all political parties should have a discussion on the issue”, Jaitley said.

The Rajya Sabha passed the reservation bill on March 9, 2010. However, the Lok Sabha could not pass the proposed legislation that seeks to reserve 33 per cent of all seats in governing bodies at the Centre, State and Local level. The bill lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

Jaitley asked the Congress leaders why they didn’t pass the legislation in the Lok Sabha when they were in office. “We had some coalition partners opposing the bill. But the BJP have absolute majority in the House and you could have passed it”, retorted leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Though the chair had urged him to re-consider the decision to move an amendment, Rangarajan didn’t oblige. The Trinamool Congress members had boycotted the house during the speech of the Prime Minister and Congress benches didn’t have full attendance as a voting on the motion was not expected by most. The Samajwadi party said there was no need for Rajya Sabha to take up this now. “Rajya Sabha passed the bill in 2010. So, why are we discussing it,” party leader Naresh Agarwal asked.

“This government is anti-women. When Women Reservation bill was brought in Rajya Sabha, they supported it and today when I moved an amendment over the same issue they voted against it. They are male chauvinists,” Rangarajan later said, justifying his decision to move the amendment.

“We may not agree with Naresh bhai (SP leader Naresh Agarwal) on this. But there are enough issues that are on the same page”, CPI(M) leader Tapan Sen said..

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 22:16 IST