Rahul Gandhi, who voted for women's reservation bill, says ‘Congress regrets…’
Rahul Gandhi said the bill seeking reservation of seats in Parliament and state assemblies would be delayed for a decade because of the census and delimitation.
Rahul Gandhi of the Congress on Friday trained guns at the Narendra Modi government over the women's reservation bill and demanded to remove the two clauses of the Census and delimitation exercise – a prerequisite to implementing the act. He said his party fully supports the bill but challenged the government to remove the clauses and implement the bill immediately.
During a press conference at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi, Gandhi said, "The Bharatiya Janata Party held a special session in Parliament...with fanfare and pomp, we moved from the old to the new Parliament building…PM Modi made a dramatic gesture by carrying the constitution and claimed that they were passing a very important law…but there are two problems."
Gandhi highlighted that the bill seeking reservation of seats in Parliament and state assemblies would be delayed for a decade because of the Census and delimitation and termed the move a “diversionary tactic” employed by the BJP to “avoid the issue of caste Census.”
On being asked about the 2010 bill on the issue, which made it through the Rajya Sabha but failed in Lok Sabha due to the demand over separate OBC quota for women, Gandhi said “We regret that decision 100%….We also did the caste Census, we didn't release it at that time due to some reasons but it should be released now.”
“…When I was researching for my Parliament speech, I looked at how many secretaries how many belong to Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Tribes….I was shocked to know of 90, only three secretaries are OBCs,” he said, questioning if this is the kind of representation we want for a community that may make up to 50% of the population.
'Why delay in Census?'
The former Congress chief emphasised that to be able to distribute the power fairly among the common people, we need data. “…Why is the PM not releasing the earlier data and why is there a delay in conducting the Census?… PM hails himself as an OBC leader, then why only 3 secretaries are OBCs,” he said.
Gandhi said it is a fact that a very large mass of India does not hold power. On being asked if he would be willing to provide quota within quota, Gandhi said, “We have to go step by step…the first step is X-Ray of India which is caste census - to understand the data for a proper decision….first keep the data on the table, then, I will answer how the Congress will deal with this.”
On being asked about the poor representation of the marginalised communities during the Congress-led UPA government, he said, “Humare samay kam tha woh bhi kharab hai, inke saamne kam hai wo bhi kharab hai (It was bad then also, it is bad now too)….we need to change this to give the power to poor."
Gandhi said the BJP cannot fool the women through their tactics and that implementing a bill 10 years from now, means “nothing.”
The bill received the parliamentary nod on Thursday as the Rajya Sabha unanimously voted in its favour.