BJP may not vote on women's bill if there is no debate

"The government should have a roadmap and strategy for passing such an important bill. We are not in favour of passing such a vital bill without a discussion. It (a discussion) is a requirement for a Constitutional Amendment as the basic structure of the Constitution will change," Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha S S Ahluwalia said. He maintained that unlike an ordinary legislation, a constitutional amendment requires discussion and division of votes.

BJP sources insisted that passing such an important bill without any discussion in a way dents its legitimacy even though the numbers are overwhelmingly in favour of the bill with the Left parties and the Congress supporting it.

The main opposition also sought to put the blame for the pandemonium in the Upper House to lack of strategy on part of the UPA coalition and its attempt to take "all the credit" for passing the important legislation."Whatever happened in the Rajya Sabha is unfortunate and condemnable. It should not have happened. Government should have come with a roadmap. I can say with responsibility that the government had not discussed the Bill with us," Ahluwalia said, adding that this was despite BJP being the first party to issue a three-line whip for voting in favour of the Bill.

"Government wants credit without even discussing it with the supporting party. Now even though we are sitting here since 12 noon, the government is missing," Ahluwalia said.

The main opposition asserted that it had warned the government that numbers were very important for a constitutional amendment with half the members present and two-third voting in its favour.

BJP leaders feel the measure should have been discussed also because there were three versions of the Women's Reservation Bill since it was mooted 15 years ago.

"Government has not discussed the Bill with the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha or with me," Ahluwalia said adding, the opposition was informed about the bill only in last week's Business Advisory Committee meeting of Rajya Sabha.

Maintaining that BJP supported reservation for women, Ahluwalia said, "We are for actively passing the Bill. We don't want to disappoint those groups and parties and the youth who are hopeful that 33 per cent reservation for women will be given for the coming generations."

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