Congress on Monday hit out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying that the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, passed by Parliament recently, is an 'election gimmick' and questioned why the legislation is not being implemented ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Addressing a press conference in Shimla, Congress Committee spokesperson Dolly Sharma said that the Congress has always kept women empowerment as its priority and its example is that five women including Pratibha Singh, have held the party state unit's top post in the past.
"It is an election gimmick of the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Now they are talking of census and delimitation. The women will get their reservation (in the law-making bodies) in 2029 and in Himachal in 2031-32. If you (BJP) are so serious on this (increasing women's participation) then why it is not being implemented before the 2024 elections," Dolly said.
She said that if the bill, to provide 33 per cent reservation in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, is implemented before the 2024 general elections then the Congress party will welcome it.
The Bill merely reads that it shall come into effect after an exercise of delimitation is undertaken for this purpose after the relevant figures for the first Census taken after the commencement of the Bill is undertaken." It doesnt specify the cycle of elections from which women will get their due share.
The current Bill does not provide womens reservation in the Rajya Sabha and State Legislative Councils. The Rajya Sabha currently has lower representation of women than the Lok Sabha. Representation is an ideal that must be reflected in both the Lower and Upper Houses.
The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, cleared its final legislative hurdle at the Rajya Sabha on September 21 with 214 members voting in support and none against.
Earlier on September 20, the bill was cleared in the Lok Sabha with the brute majority of 454 votes in favour and just 2 against.
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.
In 1996, under the United Front Government (an alliance of 13 political parties) headed by then Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, the bill was brought but it faced opposition from the alliance parties due to the latter's demand to take into account the OBCs. Since then, the bill had been in limbo for 27 years. (ANI)