Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday took potshots at the Opposition while speaking on the women’s reservation bill and said that unlike the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), others see women empowerment as a “political agenda” and “tool for vote bank politics”.
“Yesterday was a day which will be written with golden letters in India’s parliamentary history as the bill to give reservation to women, which was pending for years, was tabled,” Shah said in Lok Sabha amid a debate on the bill tabled to give on-third reservation to women. The bill, he said, will ensure the participation of women in decision-making and policy-making for the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented a vision of women-led progress at the G20 Summit and the passage of the women's reservation bill will mark the start of a new era, the home minister said and added, “Women's security, respect and equal participation have been the life force of government since PM Modi took the oath of office.”
He also said that as soon as this constitutional amendment is passed by both Houses with everyone's cooperation, one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha of the country and the Legislative Assemblies of all the states of the country will be reserved for the “mother power”.
On questions about the need for a census and delimitation exercise, Shah pointed out that the delimitation panel is needed for transparent reservation of seats. “If we make decisions and make Wayanad reserved for women, then you'd say we are doing politics,” he said.
Just before Shah took the mic, Congress senior leader Rahul Gandhi raised the issue of delimitation and census-related conditions in the women's reservation bill and said the government should implement the bill today. “There is no need for delimitation and census, just give 33 per cent reservation to women,” he said in Lok Sabha.
Hitting out at Congress and other opposition parties for calling the bill a “jumla” move, Shah said, "For some parties, women empowerment can be a political agenda and a political tool to win elections, but for BJP and PM Modi, it is not a political issue…The problem is their roots are not in India, I don't want to say where they are."
“Those claiming to speak for OBCs should know that it is BJP which gave an OBC prime minister,” he rebutted on the quota argument for Other Backward Castes (OBC), adding that in BJP, 85 MPs and 29 ministers are from OBC.
“Parliamentarians are currently elected in 3 categories of General, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes; we have reserved one-third of seats for women in each of them,” he noted.
The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, which provides for 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, was introduced by Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal in Lok Sabha on Tuesday. It was the first bill introduced in the new Parliament building.
According to the bill, it will come into effect after the delimitation of Lok Sabha constituencies to be carried out after the completion of the next population census.