Sunday, March 7, 2010

Women's Reservation Bill: Will it become a law?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

All of us have heard about the 'Women's Reservation Bill.' For the past decade or so before the start of every parliament session this bill hits the headlines. As the session comes to a close it is one of those ever lasting bills which doesn't get passed in the any house of the Parliament and waits for another Parliamentary session. This has been the story of the bill over which the two national parties BJP and the Congress have a consensus!

The Bill guarantees 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies if it become a reality. Over the last many years this bill has had it's supporters and detractors. While the BJP, the Congress and the Left have been in favour of the bill. the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Janata Dal United have famously fought against it. It may not surprise many that all the detractors come from the 'bimaru states' or infamously termed as the cow belt of the country.

Now that one among the detractors has supported the bill it has got a fresh lease of life after rolling in the parliament for 13 years since 1996. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has reportedly shifted from the party line and backed the Bill. This is a smart move by Nitish who is being seen as a Renaissance Man in Bihar. By doing so Nitish establishes his image as a pro-development politician and scores vital points over Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Some prominent female faces of the Parliament cutting across party lines, Sushma Swaraj of the BJP, Brinda Karat of the Left have come together for the cause. Congress President Sonia Gandhi is also supporting the bill. Although both the BJP and the Congress which hold substantial seats in the Parliament have always voiced their support for the bill both of them never really pushed for it in the last 13 years.

The reason for this is quite simple, in this era a coalition politics where even a inch of vote swing could change results, both the BJP and the Congress could never assess the pros and con for the Women Reservation Bill. The detractors on the other hand are sure of loosing out their vote share with the brand of politics they play in the rural heartland and thus their opposition to the bill should not surprise anybody.

It remains to be seen if the Women's Reservation Bill finally becomes a law in this session of the Parliament or it would be worth some more writing in the near future.


DIPANKAR March 19, 2010 at 3:55 PM  

I dont think that reservation will bring any upliftment to the common women. They will continue to toil hard. Yes the bill can bring the netas spouses to the forefront and the loot will continue.

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