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No Consensus On Women's Bill;Mamata Joins Chorus For Sub-Quota

Government's efforts to ensure early passage of the Women's Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday received a setback with its ally Trinamool Congress joining Samajwadi Party, RJD and JD(U) in opposing the proposed

PTI PTI Updated on: April 05, 2010 21:26 IST
no consensus on women s bill mamata joins chorus for sub
no consensus on women s bill mamata joins chorus for sub quota

Government's efforts to ensure early passage of the Women's Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday received a setback with its ally Trinamool Congress joining Samajwadi Party, RJD and JD(U) in opposing the proposed legislation in the present form. 

An all-party meeting called here to break the logjam over the bill failed as differences persisted, prompting even UPA allies and those supporting the proposed legislation not to rush through its introduction till there is consensus. 

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee held two-hour-long deliberations with leaders of SP, RJD, JD(U), BSP, who are strongly opposed to 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and Assemblies as envisaged in the bill. 

The meeting was also attended by Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and leaders of Left parties, which are backing the legislation. UPA allies NCP, DMK and NC also attended.

On the government's side, Mukherjee was joined by Home Minister P Chidambaram, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal, Defence Minister A K Antony and Law Minister Veerappa Moily. 

After the meeting, it was decided that further discussions would be held, a statement which indicated that the bill may not be introduced in the Lok Sabha in the second half of the Budget Session beginning on April 15. The bill, a constitutional amendment legislation requiring two-third majority support, has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha. 

The meeting saw strong opposition being expressed by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who maintained that they would not dilute their demand for quota for minorities, backwards and dalits within 33 per cent reservation as proposed in the bill. They got a shot in the arm, with Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee also favouring quota for minorities. 

Significantly, after the all-party meeting, she briefly met the Yadav trio after which they jointly met Mukherjee again to convey their views. 

CPI(M), which has been supporting the bill, also said that it had no objection to providing sub-quota in the bill if the government came with a proper proposal. This was seen by the opponents as support for their demand. A brief statement issued by the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry after the all-party meeting merely said that "further discussion will continue" on the bill. 

Emerging from the meeting, RJD chief Lalu Prasad said any kind of reservation for women should include muslims, backward classes and dalits. There is no question of going back on our position," he told reporters.  PTI

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