Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi earned praise from both sides of the political aisle following the historic passage of the women's reservation Bill in Parliament, the Congress MPs on Thursday flagged the omission of the OBC sub-quota from the draft legislation.
While Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda accused the Centre of ignoring the demands of the OBC community, senior party colleague KC Venugopal said keeping women from backward classes out of the reservation ambit was a "little disappointing".
The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, which cleared its final legislative hurdle at the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, guarantees 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha as well as the state legislative assemblies.
Rajya Sabha passed the Bill unanimously with 214 members voting in support and none against.
Responding to the draft legislation getting the Parliament nod on Thursday, Congress MP Hooda said, "Bringing the Bill in this session would have made more sense had an effort been made to implement it ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections. We have no idea when this draft legislation will be implemented. Will it be rolled out after the census or delimitation? There were demands from the OBC community that were put forward in this session. However, they weren't met by the government."
Hooda said the Opposition leaders are of the belief that the legislation should be implemented at the earliest.
"We are happy that the Bill has been passed. But we pushed for a couple of amendments to the draft legislation as it stands including an OBC sub-quota and implementing the law at the earliest. However, the government turned down both these demands," Venugopal said.
"This was a little disappointing," he added.
Following the passage of the Bill, which provides for 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha as well as the state legislative assemblies, both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die.
Meanwhile, chants of 'Modi Modi' were raised by women MPs as they took turns to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the passage of the draft legislation.
Women members from both Houses of Parliament, including PT Usha, and Union Ministers Meenakashi Lekhi and Smriti Irani, were all smiles as they presented a bouquet to Prime Minister Modi on the historic passage of the Bill in Parliament.
Later, both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the Bill aced the legislative test in the Lok Sabha as it was passed by a brute majority of 454 votes in favour and just 2 against.
Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal gave a brief reply to the day-long debate on the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023 in the upper House of Parliament and said it will be implemented after following due process.
Ahead of the voting, PM Modi urged the Rajya Sabha members to pass the Bill unanimously.
He said the Bill will lead to a new confidence in the people of the country.
All members and political parties have played a significant role in empowering women and enhancing 'Nari Shakti'. Let us give the country a strong message," he said.
The Rajya Sabha had earlier passed the Womens Reservation Bill in 2010 during the Congress-led UPA government but it was not taken up in the Lok Sabha and subsequently lapsed in the lower House of Parliament. (ANI)