Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday dismissed as "too premature" the possibility of any dilution in the Women's Reservation Bill in the wake of stiff opposition from the Yadav trio.
"It is too premature" was his cryptic response when asked whether the Bill, which seeks to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies, could see any dilution in view of opposition from some political parties.
Singh said the matter was under discussion. "We will discuss with political parties how best to proceed. We are committed to discussing the issue".
At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan rejected suggestions of any dilution in the Bill.
"Our stand is that it should be passed in the same form as in the Rajya Sabha. We are confident of convincing everyone," she said in reply to a volley of questions on the issue.
The remarks are significant as a meeting of leaders of political parties in the Lok Sabha has been convened here on April five for wider consultations.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is Leader of the Lok Sabha, has convened the meeting against the backdrop of strong reservations by the Yadav trio -- Mulayam Singh, Lalu Prasad and Sharad -- against the bill which has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha.
Mayawati-led BSP has also been opposing the bill in its present form.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has been instrumental in taking the initiative for the passage in the Rajya Sabha of the Bill.
Law Minister M Veerappa Moily had on Monday said the government is going ahead with the bill in its present form in the Lok Sabha in the second phase of the Budget session beginning April 15.
The bill has evoked sharp opposition from the Yadav trio, who have been demanding a quota within quota for women from backward communities and minorities. Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad have threatened to withdraw support if the government pushes the bill in its present form.
Mulayam said the bill would only help those belonging to families of industrialists and bureaucrats and whom youths would "whistle" at.
Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee, facing assembly elections in West Bengal next year, had been working in tandem with the Yadav trio.
While BJP had supported the Bill in the Rajya Sabha along with Left parties, a section in BJP is understood to be having reservations against the bill. PTI