Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the passage of the Women Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha is a historic leap for India. On the other hand Congress veteran Shashi Tharoor says it is good that the Bill passed but there is a bit of 'jumla' because of reference to delimitation and census and the uncertainty of the implementation.
The Women Reservation Bill which is formally called the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, 2023 [The Constitution (One Hundred Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023] was passed in Lok Sabha on Wednesday and will go to the Rajya Sabha next. Later, it will go to the President of India to be signed into law. Leaving 2 members of the Parliament in the Lower House, 434 MPs voted for the bill to be passed.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders React
Amit Shah posted on X on the passage of the Women Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, he wrote, "It is a historic leap for our nation as the Lok Sabha passes the 'Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam' today." He further praised the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government saying, "The bill envisaged by PM @narendramodi Ji will not only script a new chapter in the history of women's empowerment but also foster equitable and gender-inclusive development in our nation. It yet again reiterates the Modi government's commitment to women-led governance."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed gratitude to the ministers who voted for the bill to be passed, he wrote on X, "Delighted at the passage of The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023 in the Lok Sabha with such phenomenal support. I thank MPs across Party lines who voted in support of this Bill. The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam is a historic legislation which will further boost women empowerment and will enable even greater participation of women in our political process."
Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani said, "It was no less than a celebration when we passed the first milestone of Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam (Women's Reservation Bill) today. I thank PM Modi for giving the next generation of women, who will lead tomorrow, a constitutional guarantee."
Further Union Minister Anurag Thakur spoke to PTI about the passage of the bill and said, "I thank all the MPs who voted in favour of Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam (Women's Reservation Bill). Today, it was passed by more than two-third majority. 454 votes in favour and 2 in opposition. This shows that what no one could do in Lok Sabha till date, has been done today in the Modi-led government."
Reaction from opposition leaders
Shiv Sena (Uddhav Bala Thackeray) leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said that she is extremely happy with the bill passage and called it a historic moment, she told PTI, "It is a historic moment, a moment which makes me extremely happy but emotional too. Because this was something I was hoping would happen in my term in the Parliament. The only thing that holds me back from celebrating totally is that this act has not been passed for immediate implementation."
Opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi raised the issue of including women from Other Backward Classes in the bill. Other leaders also supported the argument and after the passage of the bill they spoke about the matter. Samajwadi Party leader Dimple Yadav told PTI, "The elections are due in 2024. INDIA bloc is ready to fight the elections. I have full faith that when INDIA bloc will form the government, we will work towards giving rights (reservation) to women from OBC and minorities."
Explaining the reason for opposing the bill, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that there are no reservations for women from other backward classes despite them comprising a large part of the population. He also mentioned that there is only 0.7 per cent representation of Muslim women in Lok Sabha and asked how will it work if their representation is missing from the equation.
Congress veteran Shashi Tharoor addressed the passage of the bill mentioning that "it is bit of a jumla". Tharoor told the media, "It is good that the bill got passed but we have concerns, it is a bit of a Jhumla because of reference to delimitation and census, neither of it has been scheduled, which makes it very unclear when this(bill) will actually be implemented."
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury said, "have been awaited for 25 years" for the bill to pass and also mentioned, "Issues like separate quotas for SCs, STs and OBCs were raised when the Bill was last tabled before the Rajya Sabha. These remained unaddressed. It is the job of the government to squarely address these."
Ruling BRS MLC in Telangana K Kavitha on Wednesday welcomed the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha even as she said that she would fight for securing quota for women belonging to backward classes. Kavitha termed as 'deplorable' the "Centre not wanting to implement women's reservations from the next elections" though it was possible. It is 'painful' that women will have to wait for another five years, a release from her office quoted her as saying.
Congress MP Karti P Chidambaram said, "It is a symbolic bill, for it to come into effect, two steps have to be crossed, we have to do a census which we haven't done since 2011 and after that, we have to also do a delimitation and it is going to be very complicated."
CPI MP Binoy Viswam told ANI, " OBC reservations are pending but INDIA bloc parties believed that this bill should be passed and rest of it we can find solutions…INDIA stands for passing of the bill"