SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday welcomed the Union cabinet’s decision to approve the Women’s Reservation Bill for discussion in parliament, calling it a great step. “Having navigated the rough terrain of a predominantly male political landscape myself, I am happy to see that finally, the Women Reservation Bill will become a reality. Despite constituting half of the population, we are grossly underrepresented. It’s a great step,” Mufti wrote on X. Minister of State Prahlad Singh Patel had on Monday posted on social media platform X that the Cabinet has approved the women’s reservation bill but deleted the post within an hour.
Mufti said it was never too late to pass the bill in Parliament as women face a lot of challenges in the male-dominated political scene. “It is a good step. Though quite late, but never too late. I, being a woman myself, have gone through a lot and you have to face a lot of challenges in a male-dominated political scene,” she was quoted as saying by PTI.
The former J&K chief minister said it was high time that women had a place on the decision table – whether in state assembly or parliament. “Looking at the challenges, the atrocities women are facing across the country, I think, this is high time that the bill had been brought in,” she added.
Mufti concurred with former Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s remark “bill is ours” pointing out that it was her husband, late former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had laid the foundation for an equitable proportion for women by giving them 33 per cent reservation in the panchayats.
She said there is a huge women’s force which is ready to get into assemblies and parliament and called the panchayat the foundational ground where women can be groomed for a larger responsibility. “It (Bill) was passed by the Rajya Sabha during the UPA tenure, but it was not passed in the Lok Sabha after many regional parties opposed it because they wanted a quota within a quota for backward, downtrodden women classes, which is a different thing.
‘But, I think Sonia ji is right it was brought by the Congress, and now the BJP is doing it, they have to do it together, it is a good thing,” Mufti said.
‘We welcome it’: AAP On Women’s Reservation Bill
AAP leader and Delhi Minister Atishi on Tuesday extended support to the Women’s Reservation Bill, which was cleared by the union cabinet a day earlier. “We welcome it. We extend our full support to this bill. There is a very limited representative of women in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Sabha as well, so definitely we welcome the bill”, Atishi said while speaking to ANI.
“But I would like to say that there is already reservation in the municipality or Panchayats. Despite this, no major change occurs in the life of a common woman. We would want the government to provide reservations in government jobs too. This also should be introduced in the parliament”, she added.
Mayawati Demands Separate Quota For OBC, SC & ST Women
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati has said that a separate quota for the women from OBC, SC and ST sections in the reservation should be ensured in the bill. Mayawati said “Along with BSP, most of the parties will give their vote in the favour of Women’s Reservation Bill. We expect that after the discussion this bill will get passed this time as it has been pending for a long. I said earlier on behalf of my party in the Parliament that women get 50% reservation instead of the proposed 33% in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies, keeping in mind the population of women. I hope the Government will think about it. Also, a separate quota for the women from OBC, SC and ST sections should be ensured in the reservation for women or it will be unfair to them.”
The Women’s Reservation Bill was cleared by the Union Cabinet on Monday. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the government is bringing a new Bill to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies and that God has given him the opportunity to take forward the task of women empowerment.
Making his first speech in the new building of Parliament, the Prime Minister said the government has decided to bring Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. “Discussion on Women’s Reservation Bill happened for a long time. During Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced several times but there was not enough majority to pass the Bill, and because of this this dream remained incomplete. Today, God has given me the opportunity to take this forward…Our government is bringing a new Bill today on Women’s participation in both Houses,” PM Modi said in Lok Sabha.
He said the Bill would strengthen democracy and appealed to members to pass it unanimously. Women’s Reservation Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha in 2010 and it was not taken up in Lok Sabha and lapsed in the lower House of Parliament.
The Women’s Reservation Bill seeks to reserve 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women. Despite being a crucial step towards gender parity and inclusive governance, the Bill has remained in legislative limbo for far too long.