No consensus yet on women?s Bill
Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi on Monday discussed the Women's Reservation Bill with political parties and felt they had "come closer" on the issue, although there was "no unanimity yet".
The Speaker said he would soon meet the Prime Minister and the leader of Opposition, besides leaders of major political parties. There was a possibility that a consensus would be reached on the Bill before the monsoon session of Parliament.
About 30 leaders attended the all-party meeting convened by Joshi in Parliament House.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the Centre would "do whatever was generally agreed upon". Former Speaker Shivraj Patil reiterated the Congress' support to 33 per cent quota for women as provided in the Bill's existing draft.
Of the several issues discussed in the three-hour meeting, Joshi said the issue of acceptance of the existing draft supporting 33 per cent seat reservation for women was agreed by all present. Another view was that instead of earmarking one-third of seats for women, political parties should send 33 per cent women MPs.
Samajwadi Party's Mulayam Singh Yadav suggested that the allocation be reduced to 15 to 20 per cent, with sub-quotas from Muslims and other weaker sections of the society. He claimed support from the RJD and BJP's allies JD (U), Samata Party and Shiv Sena.