All-party meet convened tomorrow on Women's Reservation Bill

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is Leader of the Lok Sabha, has convened the meeting of all parties over the issue as government wants an early resolution of the deadlock.

The bill which has already been passed by Rajya Sabha is expected to be taken up for consideration in the Lower House when it resumes budget session on April 15.
The government is keen on pushing ahead with the bill but is said to be averse to using force for the purpose because of the stature of the opponents.

In the Rajya Sabha, marshals were used to remove obstructing members but the decision came in for severe attack later.Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said last week that the government is going ahead with the bill in its present form in the Lok Sabha in the second phase of the Budget session beginning April 15. He denied that there would be any changes in the bill.

The opponents of the bill have made it clear that the bill in its present form would be opposed tooth and nail and they may be open for discussion if the government comes with dilution of the percentage of reservation or leaving the quota for decision by parties.
The three parties SP, JD(U) and RJD, whose leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Yadav and Lalu Prasad are members in the Lok Sabha, have indicated that they will oppose the bill tooth and nail in the House.

SP national spokesperson Mohan Singh said that his party continues to oppose the bill in its present form "and we don't see any perceivable change in the government's stand towards our demand".

Singh further said his party had earlier suggested that all parties should give a maximum of 20 per cent tickets to women candidates and recognition of those parties, which fail to do so, should be cancelled.

"The government initially accepted our suggestion only to reject it later," he said.
He added that "I don't see anything coming out of the meeting... However, Mulayam Singhji is in regular contact with both Laluji and Sharadji and all the three parties are united in their opposition to the bill".

Singh said that SP has also been asking for reservation for Dalit and Muslim women, but this demand has also never been heeded by the government."The government managed to get its bill cleared in Rajya Sabha with the help of the influential class. However if the government brings it to Lok Sabha in its present form, then we will oppose it," the SP general secretary said.

He said that SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and another party MP may attend the meeting.JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, however, could not be contacted for his comments despite repeated attempts.

The bill has evoked sharp opposition from the Yadav trio, who have been demanding a quota within quota for women from backward communities and minorities. Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad have threatened to withdraw support if the government pushes the bill in its present form.Dishing out a somewhat controversial argument, Mulayam had gone to the extent of saying that the bill would only help those belonging to families of industrialists and bureaucrats and whom youths would "whistle" at.

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