Opposing the Women's Reservation Bill in its present form, Bharatiya Janashakti Party chief Uma Bharti on Saturday demanded 50 per cent quota for the fairer sex in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. She said whips issued by parties supporting the bill proved that differences existed within them on the issue.
"Not long ago, (former Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee and (Lok Sabha Speaker) Meira Kumar had said the bill should be passed with consensus. But parties supporting it are now trying to use their numerical strength to get it through," Bharti told reporters in New Delhi.
She said whips issued by parties supporting it proved something was wrong. "Whips indicated that there were differences within such parties which feared that without whips, members would not vote as per party line," Bharti said. The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said after the issuance of whips, it would not be known which MPs were opposed to the measure in its present form.
Bharti said she was not against the bill but "since the Constitution is being amended, the reservation for women should be 50 per cent and include SCs, STs and OBCs".
Seats for those from the SC, ST and OBC categories should be clearly earmarked, she said.
Bharti, who met JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and senior BJP leader L K Advani today, said the rotation of seats as proposed in the bill would hamper development.
"The seats should be earmarked for at least two terms and not one term as suggested in the bill," she said. She is planning to meet leaders of various political parties including BJP and Congress on the issue.
To support her demand for "quota within quota", Bharti said former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had made provisions for such a quota in Panchayati Raj and local bodies. PTI