Persistent demands for quota within quota notwithstanding, Government is going ahead with the Women's Reservation Bill in its present form in the Lok Sabha in the second phase of the Budget session beginning April 15. "The Bill will be brought before the Lok Sabha in the second phase of the Budget session," Law Minister M Veerappa Moily told reporters in New Delhi.
Asked whether there will be any changes in the Bill which seeks to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, he said "it will be in the same form".
Asked about the tentative date when the Bill will be tabled in the lower house, he said it was upto the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Lok Sabha to decide. "They will decide on the date and the duration of the debate," he said.
"You better place the question to him," Moily said when asked about Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement that the Government would talk to 'all concerned' to arrive at a consensus at the contentious bill.
The Bill has evoked sharp opposition from the Yadav trio -- Mulayam Singh, Lalu Prasad and Sharad Yadav -- 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.
Dishing out a somewhat controversial argument, Mulayam had gone to the extent of saying that Women's Reservation Bill would only help those belonging to families of industrialists and bureaucrats and whom youths would whistle at. He said not a single male would be elected to the Lok Sabha 10 years after the bill comes into force and advocated quota for the fairer sex within political parties. Mayawati-led BSP is also against the Bill in its present form.
Union minister Mamata Banerjee, facing assembly elections in West Bengal next year, had been working in tandem with the Yadav trio, given the fact that the state has an estimated 27 per cent Muslim population which reportedly has reservations over the Bill.
Banerjee is insisting that the government should take everyone along and especially UPA allies like RJD and SP which are providing crucial outside support to the government. While the BJP had supported the Bill in the Rajya Sabha along with the Left parties, a section in the BJP is having reservations over the bill. PTI