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Saturday, Oct 16, 2021
Outlook.com

Chauvinism Unmasked

As the women's reservation bill is again thwarted, political doublespeak is exposed

Chauvinism Unmasked
Chauvinism Unmasked
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

PARLIAMENT shed a measure of its dignity, prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee lost face and Congress president Sonia Gandhi learnt a hard lesson in realpolitik as brute opposition to the Women's Reservation Bill cowed the government into shelving it. Janus-faced, the BJP and the Congress publicly supported the bill while their MPs gleefully maintained, "It's in the dustbin, where it belongs."

 On the morning of July 13, it looked as if nothing could stop the bill from becoming law. With the Congress, Left and BJP poised to issue whips, the requisite two-thirds majority was a cinch. The Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Bahujan Samaj Party and some BJP allies might oppose it but in the numbers game they hardly mattered. Majority, after all, rules. Only this time, it didn't.

The handful of SP, RJD and BSP members opposed to the bill, using what an MP delicately termed "extra-parliamentary methods"—storming into the well of the House and creating a situation ripe with the promise of...

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