The Women’s reservation Bill and the various problems that it faces

The Women’s Reservation Bill, a long pending legislation, was finally brought into Parliament for voting, and it produced the anticipated furore. The Government (and the previous BJP Government) had long dithered over getting in the bill to vote, worried about the impact of the Bill on their supporting parties. For example, even though the Government has a majority in the Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha, it is a wafer thin majority and has a comfort level in terms of support from the BSP, the RJD and the SP. All these parties are primarily the parties of the oppressed classes and remain very worried that a Bill which ensures the reservation of seats for women will be primarily cornered by women from the classes that are not part of their supporting bases and which will cut into their possible seats. Hence, they produce a vociferous reaction to the Bill and couch it in terms of asking for a reservation for OBC’s and Muslims in the Bill, and hope that such a demand will make the Bill infeasible. In the past, such protests (along with an implicit push back by male MP’s in the main parties – the Congress and the BJP) have worked to derail attempts to pass the legislation.
It is only in this session that the Congress, inspired (and pushed) by Sonia Gandhi (along with all the political calculations required for the passing of such a controversial bill) has made a push to get the bill passed, and after a initial push in the Rajya Sabha on World Women’s Day (where the expected protests did materialize and derailed the Government’s attempts), the Government pushed to get the Bill passed on the next day; for this purpose and for suppressing the protests, the Government even used Marshals to push out some of the unruly MP’s.

But now what ? There is a long way to go for the Bill, with an expected passage in the Lok Sabha even more difficult (there are more MP’s of the protesting parties there, and the opposition BJP shows signs of internal turmoil among its male MP’s, they realize that this Bill is going to push against their own seats). And the Government also needs to get it passed in 50% of the state assemblies to enable to Bill to get the status of a Constitutional Amendment.

1 comment to The Women’s reservation Bill and the various problems that it faces

  • KevvKeka

    Was watching the Veerappa Moily interview on Devil’s Advocate, don’t you think it’s unfair that 72% of OC men should fight for 51% of the total seats hereafter if the bill gets approved. Is the Congress eying for the women vote bank at the state level by trying to pass the bill ?

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