“100% Regret…”: Rahul Gandhi On Congress’ Failure To Include OBCs In Women’s Bill

New Delhi: 

The Congress “100 per cent regrets” it was unable to pass the women’s reservation bill when it was in power, Rahul Gandhi said Friday, acknowledging that had his party accepted the demand for a quota for women from OBC communities the legislation would have come into effect 10 years ago.

The call for a quota within a quota for women from OBC communities was made by the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal but the Congress, then heading the United Progressive Alliance government, refused the demand. A furious SP and RJD withdrew support for a bill, which had cleared the Rajya Sabha and was waiting to be tabled in the Lok Sabha, but was never picked up.

“100 per cent… (we have) 100 per cent regret,” Mr Gandhi told reporters today after he called out the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party over a potential delay of six years or more before the new women’s reservation bill comes into effect.

The bill – passed by Parliament in this week’s special session – guarantees 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies but mandates a census and delimitation before implementation. This means it is unlikely to come into effect before the 2029 general election and possibly not till the 2034 polls. The opposition has united to condemn the government for this delay.

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