In what could be one step forward for former prime minister and JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda’s initiative, the Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet on Monday, 18 September, reportedly approved a Bill to reserve Lok Sabha and state Assembly seats for women.
BRS MLC K Kavitha, too, can claim a moral victory for her recent push for the women’s reservation Bill, with government sources suggesting that the long-pending Bill got the Union Cabinet’s nod on Monday night, and was expected to be presented in the ongoing session of Parliament.
Other parties have also, time and again, demanded the introduction of the Bill — which guarantees a 33 percent quota for women in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.
I recently wrote to the Prime Minister requesting him to consider reintroducing the Women’s Reservation Bill. I had taken it up first in 1996. It will be the first best thing to do as we move into a new parliament building soon. pic.twitter.com/AdzymLywFW
— H D Deve Gowda (@H_D_Devegowda) April 15, 2023
The primary Opposition party, the Indian National Congress (INC), also said it welcomed the reported decision and was happy that the Bill would finally be up for discussion in the legislature.
That the Cabinet had approved the Bill was confirmed by the Minister of State for Food Processing Industries and Jal Shakti, Prahlad Singh Patel via X (formerly Twitter), but the tweet was soon deleted.
“Only the Modi government had the moral courage to fulfil the demand for women’s reservation, which was proved by the approval of the cabinet. Congratulations Narendra Modi ji and congratulations to the Modi government,” the minister said on X in Hindi.
Union MoS Prahlad Patel deletes his post on 'Women's Reservation Bill'. pic.twitter.com/N8PeEvg5kV
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) September 18, 2023
The Women’s Reservation Bill passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010 had provision for 33 percent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.
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The Cabinet meeting
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told reporters that “historic decisions” would be taken this Parliament session, which might be of short duration but was big on occasion.
The Union Cabinet met on Monday evening after the first sitting of the five-day special session of Parliament. The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, went on for over 90 minutes.
The Cabinet meeting was attended by Union ministers including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Piyush Goyal, Pralhad Joshi, S Jaishankar, Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan, Nitin Gadkari and Arjun Ram Meghwal.
Ever since it was announced that the Parliament session would be held from 18-22 September, there had been speculation on various Bills, including the women’s reservation Bill.
In his remarks in Lok Sabha on the discussion of 75 years of Parliament, Modi asserted that the contribution of women parliamentarians had been on the rise over the years.
Congress hails decision
Congress spokesman Jairam Ramesh welcomed the “reported decision” of the Union Cabinet.
“It’s been a long-standing demand of the Congress party to implement women’s reservation. We welcome the reported decision of the Union Cabinet and await the details of the Bill,” said Ramesh on X (formerly Twitter).
“This could have very well been discussed in the all-party meeting before the Special Session, and consensus could have been built instead of operating under a veil of secrecy,” he added.
He also shared a detailed post he made on Sunday to underline how the Congress has been supporting the move.
It’s been a long-standing demand of the Congress party to implement women’s reservation. We welcome the reported decision of the Union Cabinet and await the details of the Bill. This could have very well been discussed in the all-party meeting before the Special Session, and… https://t.co/lVI9RLHVY6
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) September 18, 2023
Former AICC President and senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi pushed for the women’s reservation Bill even on Sunday during the party’s mammoth election rally in Hyderabad.
(With PTI inputs)