Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that he supports the Women Reservation Bill introduced by the Narendra Modi government, but added that he would like to see the inclusion of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the bill.
The Modi government on Tuesday introduced the Women Reservation Bill which seeks to reserve 33 per cent seats in the Lok Sabha and assemblies of the states and Union Territories (UTs). While some sections have opposed the bill on various counts, parties across the spectrum have broadly supported the bill.
Rahul also raised the issue of delimitation- and census-related provisions for reserving seats for women in the bill and said the government should pass the bill today and provide the reservation directly by doing away with the requirement of delimitation and census.
"It (Women's Reservation Bill) is a big step and I am sure everybody -the treasury benches and the Opposition- in this room agrees that this is a very important step for the women of our country. There is one thing, in my view, that makes this bill incomplete. I would like to have seen OBC reservation included into this bill...You (Government) implement this bill. There is no need of delimitation and census, just give 33 per cent reservation to women," said Rahul.
Further speaking on the issue of OBCs, Rahul asked the Modi government to conduct the caste census at the earliest and release the caste data collected during the Congress-ruled United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government during 2004-14.
Rahul also termed the women's reservation bill a "huge step in transfer of power to women" and compared it to the moment panchayati raj was introduced.
"I stand in support of women's reservation bill...This is huge step in transfer of power to women was Panchayati Raj, this is another big step...The idea that you require new census, delimitation to implement this bill strange; this bill can be implemented today...The moment the Opposition raises caste census, BJP tries to create new distraction," said Rahul, as per PTI.
Commenting on the representation of OBCs, Rahul said out of 90 Secretary-level officers, only three were from the OBCs. He said he was "shocked" to find it.
Further speaking about the representation, Rahul said that only caste census can provide the correct number of OBCs, Dalits, and Adivasi in the country.
"I have a suggestion for the government. Pass the Women's Reservation Bill...Get the caste census done as soon as possible...and if you are not doing it, we will do it," said Rahul, as per ANI.