New Delhi: Opposition parties should support the women’s reservation bill because, even if they don’t, the quota will still come “after 2029”, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in the Lok Sabha Wednesday shortly before the House passed the bill, titled Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, with a majority of 454 to 2.
The two MPs who voted against the bill are All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MPs Asaduddin Owaisi and Imtiaz Jaleel.
Talking to the media after the bill was passed, AIMIM chief Owaisi said, “We voted against the bill because the share of OBCs in India’s population is over 50 percent. And you are bringing the bill so that women who have no representation in the Lok Sabha or the state assemblies have an opportunity, but are leaving out those who account for 50 percent of the women population? What kind of justice is this?”
He added: “Secondly, you will not give it (sub quota) to Muslim women? We voted against the bill so that people will know that someone fought for the rights of Muslim and OBC women.”
Earlier, talking in Parliament about the reason for not implementing the quota in 2024, when the next Lok Sabha election is held — amid Opposition criticism over the government making the quota subject to delimitation, or fresh outlining of India’s Lok Sabha constituencies — Shah said delimitation was needed for “transparent reservation”. The census and delimitation exercise, he added, will start after the next general election.
“Social media mein kuch log bhoomika banana rahe hain ki, bhai, iss vidheyak ko isliye samarthan naa karo kyunki isme delimitation commission ka hai aur abhi ke chunav mein nahi hoga,” he said.
“Kuch log keh rahe hain isme OBC aarakshan nahi hai, Muslim aarakshan nahi hai isliye samarthan na karo. Main alag kehta hu. Aap samarthan nahi karoge, toh kya jaldi aarakshan aa jayega? Toh bhi 2029 ke baad ayega,” he added.
(“Some people are saying on social media, don’t support the bill because the quota depends on delimitation and it won’t be implemented in this election. Some are saying it should not be supported as there is no reservation for OBCs, Muslims. If you don’t support this bill, will reservation happen sooner? It will still come after 2029.”)
Shah said women empowerment was not a political issue for the BJP and PM Narendra Modi.
“For some parties, women empowerment may be a political agenda or tool for electoral gain, but for my party, and my leader PM Modi, this is not a political issue but an issue of manyata (principles).”
Taking a dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is among those who have questioned the delay, he added, “The problem is that their roots are not in India, and I don’t want to say where they are.”
“If we make decisions and make Wayanad (Gandhi’s constituency) reserved, then you’d say we are doing politics. If Hyderabad gets reserved, then (AIMIM’s Hyderabad MP Asaduddin) Owaisi sahab will say we are doing political reservation,” he added.
The OBC question
Responding to queries regarding reservation not being extended to the OBC community, Shah said: “Parliamentarians are currently elected in 3 categories — General, SC, ST. We have reserved one-third seats for women in each of them.”
Shah said the passage of the women’s reservation bill will mark the start of a new era. “PM Modi presented a vision of women-led progress in G20,” he added, referring to the G20 Summit in New Delhi earlier this month, and sought to emphasise that Modi has always advocated for women-led development and progress on the global stage.
“Women’s security, respect and equal participation have been the life force of the government since PM Modi took the oath of office,” he said.
Responding to Rahul Gandhi, who said that only three government secretaries out of 90 are from the OBCs, Shah said 29 percent of BJP MPs are from the community.
In BJP, 85 MPs and 29 ministers are from OBC community, he added.
“Those claiming to speak for OBCs should know that it is BJP which gave an OBC Prime Minister,” Shah said.
With inputs from Sourav Roy Barman.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)
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