New Delhi: The historic bill providing 33 per cent reservation to women in parliament and state assemblies was passed in the Lok Sabha today after hours of fierce debate. This is the first time the bill was introduced and passed in the lower house.
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The bill was passed through voice vote in new parliament during a five-day special session called on the occasion of 75 years of Indian Independence.
The bill was passed with the support of 454 MPs. Only Two MPs voted against it. The bill will be presented in Rajya Sabha tomorrow, the Day Four of the special session.
The implementation of the quota, though, can take place only after a census and delimitation, which pushes it back by at least six years — a matter that has provided ammunition to the Opposition.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, however, said both delimitation and census will begin after next year’s general election.
This is the first time the bill has been able to clear the Lok Sabha. The 2008 bill drafted by the UPA government was only able to clear the Rajya Sabha test before being scuttled by parties demanding quota for Other Backward Classes as well.
Mr Shah today accused Opposition parties of lacking the will to push through the bill and playing politics over it.
“This is the fifth attempt to bring this bill — From HD Devegowda to Manmohan Singh. What were the reasons why it failed to get nod,” he said, tracing the bill’s journey each time.
Opening the debate, Congress’s Sonia Gandhi underscored that the initiative for the bill was taken under the UPA government.
“How many years will they (women) have to wait… two… four… eight? Is this right? Congress demands the bill be implemented immediately,” she said, calling for reservation for women from SC, ST and OBC communities.
Congress’s Rahul Gandhi said, “Two things seem strange. One, the Idea that you need new census for this bill and new delimitation and I think this bill can be implemented today. I wonder this is not designed to push it forward by seven or eight years and let it play out the way it does”.
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