As the Parliamentarians entered the new Parliament building on day two of the five-day Special Session, the first agenda taken up for the day was the introduction of the Women Reservation Bill which was introduced by Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal. BJP called the day an 'Immortal' in the history of India while Congress said that it is just an election jumla (Political gimmick).
Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the bill in the first sitting of Lok Sabha in the new Parliament building. Arjun Ram Meghwal said that once the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam is passed, the number of seats for women in Lok Sabha will increase to 181.
"This historic day of 19th September 2023 is going to be immortal in the history of India," the Prime Minister underlined. Observing the growing contributions of women in every sector, the Prime Minister emphasized the need for the inclusion of more women in policy-making so that their contributions to the nation increase further," PM Modi said.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that this day which marks the first day of session in the new Parliament building has been immortalised owing to the introduction of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam or the Women's Reservation Bill heralding a 'new chapter' in India's parliamentary democracy.
"This day has been immortalized forever in Indian parliamentary democracy. While today the inauguration of the new Parliament House has taken place, today in the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Shri @narendramodiji has started writing a new chapter by announcing the introduction of 'Nari Shakti Vandan Act'," read a rough translation of the Defence Minister's post on 'X' on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the government is bringing a new Bill to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies and that God has given him the opportunity to take forward the task of women empowerment.
Making his first speech in the new building of Parliament, the Prime Minister said the government has decided to bring Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam.
"Discussion on Women's Reservation Bill happened for a long time. During Atal Bihari Vajpayee's regime Women's Reservation Bill was introduced several times but there was not enough majority to pass the Bill, and because of this this dream remained incomplete. Today, God has given me the opportunity to take this forward. Our government is bringing a new Bill today on Women's participation in both Houses," PM Modi said in Lok Sabha.
Urging Rajya Sabha members to pass the Bill - Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam unanimously when it comes to the House, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that it is imperative that women should have a role in policy-making, ensuring women that the Centre is committed to make this bill a law.
"Today a bill has been introduced in the Lok Sabha. After discussion, it will come here also. Today we are taking an important step towards women's empowerment," PM Modi said in Rajya Sabha.
Reacting to certain provisions of the bill, Congress called the introduction of the bill an "election jumla" and "a huge betrayal of hopes of women".
Congress General Secretary in charge of Communications Jairam Ramesh said that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi had any real intention to prioritise women's empowerment, the Womens Reservation Bill would have been implemented immediately.
"If the PM had any real intention to prioritise women's empowerment, the Womens Reservation Bill would have been implemented immediately without the ifs and buts and all other conditions. For him and the BJP, this is only an election jumla that delivers nothing concrete," Jairam Ramesh posted on X (Formerly Twitter).
In the series of tweets he further said that in a season of election jumlas, this one is the biggest of them all.
" In a season of election jumlas, this one is the biggest of them all! A huge betrayal of the hopes of crores of Indian women and girls," he said.
He further added, "As we had pointed out earlier, the Modi government has not yet conducted the 2021 Decadal Census making India the only country in G20 that has failed to carry out the Census. Now it says that the reservation for women will come into effect only following the first decadal Census conducted AFTER the Womens Reservation Bill has become an Act. When will this Census take place?"
"The Bill also says the reservation comes into effect only after the publication of the next Census and the subsequent delimitation exercise thereafter. Will the Census and delimitation be done before the 2024 elections? Basically, the Bill gets the headlines today with a very vague promise of its implementation date. This is nothing but EVM Event Management," he wrote on X.
Calling the Women's Reservation Bill good, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal on Tuesday said that the party is not criticising the introduction of 'Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam' adding that the party just wants to seek some clarification from the government.
"This move is good, we are not criticizing it. But we want to seek some clarification from the government. Firstly, when is this going to be in effect, whether the OBC will also get the benefit of this," KC Venugopal said speaking to ANI.
Venugopal said that though he supports the move to bring about the Women's Reservation Bill, there is scope for improvement.
"It is well and good now the government is coming for a Bill. But when we saw the bill, we think that there is something that has to be done more," the Congress MP said.
Venugopal sought clarification from the government on whether women from the Other Backward Class (OBC) community will get reservations under this Bill.
"We think that the reservation of SC/ST under the reservation of women is okay. But other OBC community people are also waiting for the reservation. The government should come forward with a clarification on what they are going to do for OBC," the senior Congress leader said.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat on Tuesday slammed the BJP-led Centre over the Women Reservation Bill and said that certain clauses in the Bill ensure that women are going to be deprived of the 33 per cent reservation in the Parliament till the next census survey.
"This reservation bill had been promised by the BJP before the 2014 elections. Now they have brought this bill. This bill just ensures that women are going to be deprived till the next census, till the next delimitation exercise," Brinda Karat said.
Slamming former Congress president Sonia Gandhi for not being present in the House when the historic Women's Reservation Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister Smriti Irani said that the Gandhi family is only interested in empowering women in their family."
"Gandhi's Family is only interested in empowering the women in their family. They are not interested in empowering the women in poor or Adivasi or Dalit women, Smriti Irani said while speaking to ANI on Tuesday.
People's Democratic Party Chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said that Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam is an important step in the progress of the country after the Women's Reservation Bill was tabled today in Lok Sabha.
Speaking to the reporters here, Mufti said that the Central government led by the BJP which has been in power for the last 9 years could have moved the Bill earlier ensuring womens participation in the upcoming general elections."NDA government is about to complete 10 years. If they had done this earlier, women would have had a chance to participate in large numbers in the 2024 elections. But it is better late than never, it is a good thing. This will be an important step in the progress of the country" she said.
Rajya Sabha in its first sitting in the new Parliament building witnessed sparring between Mallikarjun Kharge and Nirmala Sitharaman after the formers remarks that political parties picked weak women as candidates and won't choose those who're educated and can fight.
On Mallikarjun Kharge's statement, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that such remarks are unacceptable.
"We respect the leader of the opposition but to make a sweeping statement that all parties choose women who are not effective is absolutely unacceptable. We all have been empowered by our party, PM. President Droupadi Murmu is an empowered woman," the Finance Minister said.
Rajya Sabha LoP Mallikarjun Kharge later clarified that women from backwards and tribal communities are not getting opportunities.
"Women from backwards, ST doesn't get such opportunities which they are getting, this is what we are saying," he said.
On the Women's Reservation Bill tabled in Lok Sabha, BJP State Secretary Agnimitra Paul says, "All the women of India are extremely overjoyed and grateful to PM Modi. So many governments have promised us but nobody successfully could do it even Congress. Now the Opposition is shouting it is their idea, what idea are they talking about if they can't implement it"
On the Women's Reservation bill, former Election Commissioner OP Rawat said, "Reservation is a constitutional amendment. It has to be passed by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Then it has to be passed by more than half of the Vidhan Sabha in the country. After that President has to sign it. Then it will become an act."
"Until and unless it does not become an act, the Election Commission is obliged to make the election happen under the present laws in all the due states. I think if all the planning has been done before and all the parties have come to one decision then it can happen...If State Assemblies call a Special Session of 2-3 days to pass this bill then it can happen sooner. It is possible that it can be implemented by December. No one has the right to postpone the elections. The Election Commission is obliged under the Constitution and Representation of the People Act to conduct elections within six months before the tenure is over...Bill is possible as all the parties are supporting it."
Veteran actor turned politician Hema Malini on Tuesday extended support to the Women's Reservation Bill after Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the Bill in the first sitting of Lok Sabha in the new Parliament building.
Talking exclusively to ANI, Hema Malini said, September 19 has become historic because the first bill in the new Sansad- Women's Reservation Bill was introduced today and I hope it will be passed soon. At present, we are only 81 (women) MPs, after this Bill, our number will be around 181. So women's representation will increase. Women are doing good work and they should come forward, the sky is open for you to fly."
"As women, we always look forward to the implementation of the bill but still we are yet to read all the clauses and the objective of the bill...At the moment, it is the stand of DMK that we will welcome the bill as Tamil Nadu is the pioneer of women's reservation rights as well as women's empowerment. We will welcome the bill but we have to see all the clauses and into the intricacies of the bill," said DMK MP Thamizhachi Thangapandian.
On the Women's Reservation Bill, BJP MP Pragya Thakur said, "We congratulate all the women in the country for the Women's Reservation Bill. The bill that has been brought by the BJP govt under PM Modi's leadership is for the good of all of us. Women will now move forward and play their part for the country."
Union Minister Anupriya Patel said, "Women constitute half the population of the country. Democracy cannot be strengthened without uplifting women. This is why in the first session of the new Parliament we introduced the Women's Reservation Bill."
On Women Reservation Bill tabled in Parliament, BRS MLC K Kavitha says, "I am happy it is tabled. It is in Lok Sabha already. We are really hoping that it will pass in the Lok Sabha tomorrow and go to Rajya Sabha as soon as possible and then get passed in this session itself. Whatever I was expressing yesterday that worry has come true because introducing it in the Rajya Sabha consensus of various parties, stretching out a hand of friendship by the ruling government is essential. I hope the government will come forward to do that. Very Very happy it is introduced."
MoS for Railways and Textiles Darshana Jardosh said, "On the first day of the new Parliament, we will be taking back historic memories. It's a historic day. During the G 20 Summit, PM Modi said that empowerment is not enough, women-led development is needed."
Several women invitees were also invited for the occasion.
Actor Kangana Ranaut on Tuesday welcomed the Union cabinet's decision to approve the Women's Reservation Bill for discussion in parliament. Kangana, who was among the special invitees at the new Parliament building, shared her thoughts on the bill.
She said, "This is a historic day. This (the new Parliament building) is symbolic of Amritkaal. Such an important day, the BJP could speak about anything point or any bill but they chose women's empowerment. This shows their thoughts and mindset. Our country is in capable hands."
On Women's Reservation Bill, actor Esha Gupta said, "This a game-changer. Today is one of the most historic days, so many govts came, they tried but it did not happen. Now they (Centre) have introduced it."
Fashion designer Rina Dhaka said, "I am grateful to minister Anurag Thakur for inviting a few accomplished women to witness this historic day. It is a big victory for the women of the country...there was a very marginal representation of women and they form an equal part of our country and society...be it men or women, we're equal so why shouldn't we (women) have a role to play here? today they (Centre) have made way for that."
Women Reservation Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010 but it was not taken up in Lok Sabha and lapsed in the lower House of Parliament. The five-day special session of the Parliament began on Monday. (ANI)