Modi: Positive outlook by parties will infuse new energy in women
PM also said that the fruitful discussion on the women’s reservation bill in both Houses will create a “new self-confidence” in the people of the country
New Delhi: The “positive outlook” shown by the political parties will infuse a new energy in the women of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, as he made a special intervention towards the end of a marathon discussion on the women’s reservation bill.
The prime minister also said that the fruitful discussion on the women’s reservation bill in both Houses will create a “new self-confidence” in the people of the country.
“For two days, detailed discussion has taken place on a very important bill. About 132 lawmakers in both Houses had a very fruitful discussion. In future too, every word spoken in this debate will help us in our journey,” Modi said. “This new spirit which has been formed today, it will instil a new confidence among the people.”
Modi appealed to the lawmakers to pass the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, 2023 with consensus after all parties assured support for the bill, even as many leaders demanded its quicker implementation and a quota for women from Other Backward Classes (OBC) communities.
“All lawmakers announced support at the very beginning of their speeches, I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “All the members and political parties have played a significant role in empowering women and enhancing nari shakti (women power). Let us give the country a strong message.”
Referring to the parties lending support to the bill, rising above party politics, the PM said, “It is not that special status for womanpower will come only from the passage of the bill. The positive outlook of all parties towards the bill will give a new energy to the women of this country. As women will come with enhanced power in the leadership position, it will be a guarantee to India’s bright future.”
Earlier in the day, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president JP Nadda told the Rajya Sabha that the women’s reservation bill, in its current form, is the “shortest way” to ensure the earmarking of 33% seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, and any attempt to block it will stall the process.
The Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill aims to provide one-third reservation for women in the Lok Sabha, state assemblies and the legislative assembly of Delhi. It came 13 years after a previous attempt to legislate on the fractious issue stumbled in Parliament. The Opposition, however, has expressed concern over a provision in the bill that says the political reservation for women will come into effect after the delimitation exercise (which can’t take place before 2026) and the completion of the decadal census that was due in 2021.
“In 2029, women MPs will be there...but that won’t happen if the bill is not passed. This is the shortest way,” Nadda said during the discussion on the bill in the Upper House.
He also denied the Opposition’s allegation that the bill has been introduced with an eye on electoral politics, saying the implementation must follow a constitutional process.
“There has to be a census, we have to see on which seats the reservation will be implemented... that identification has to be done by a quasi-judicial body (the delimitation commission),” Nadda said, responding to the Opposition’s demand to implement the reservation by 2024 general elections.
While Nadda said the reservation will take effect from 2029, the opposition has criticised the government for bringing the bill at the fag-end of their tenure and not implementing it forthwith.
“The BJP’s intention is not to take any political advantage (from the women’s reservation bill). If we were to take political advantage, we would have said that it would be implemented from now itself,” Nadda added.
In his address, Congress lawmaker KC Venugopal alleged that the “Narendra Modi government did not make any effort to bring the bill in the last nine years and it is due to the political calculations that the government has brought the legislation now.”
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the bill was “long overdue”, adding that it has been thoughtfully crafted, especially considering that “we are at a critical stage of development”.
On why the government has convened a special session of Parliament, she said, “We have come into a new complex, new building for Parliament, new India. We would like this Parliament to deal with one of the best bills that it can deal with.”