Mulayam opposes Women's Bill

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose party is supporting the government from outside, backed the contention of JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav that if the bill was passed without a consensus, it would amount to giving "poison by force" by the ruling class to those opposed to the legislation as had been done to Greek philosopher Socrates.

Participating in the debate on Motion of Thanks to the President's Address in the Lok Sabha, Yadav said he was not against greater participation of women in politics but it should be done through consensus.

He sought to reach out to the BJP, JD(U), RJD and Left, seeking their support to stall the bill which provides for 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and Assemblies.

"The bill is dangerous for the leadership of Lok Sabha ... It is a conspiracy...It would finish the leadership," Yadav said.

Elaborating, he said leaders like L K Advani, M M Joshi, Sharad Yadav and Lalu Prasad had not reached the present state in a day but through "hard struggles". 

"Pass it by consensus, not by force," Yadav said addressing Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee who were present.

Particularly addressing Mukherjee, he said "you are a wise man, a prominent leader. You should not do it."

He told the Congress that it may be having majority today, but it may not have it next time. He reminded them about the situation the party faced in 1989 after getting huge majority in the 1984 general elections.

Seeking to ridicule the thumping of desks in the Lok Sabha over the Women's bill, the SP chief said if the legislation goes through, many of the MPs, including Muslims, backwards, would not be able to make it to the House again.

"It is like forcible administration of poison as was done to Socrates. Sharad Yadav has rightly said so. You are giving poison," the SP chief said addressing the Treasury benches.

"I suggest, this (passing the bill) won't be good. It would be unfortunate.. Stop this," he said, adding consensus should be evolved by calling a meeting of leaders of parties.

As if to highlight that women are already dominating various shades of politics, Yadav said "Soniaji ke bina Congress me patta nahi hilta. UP me mahila (Mayawati) hain, unke bina patta nahi hilta, Tamil Nadu me ek mahila hain Jayalalitha, unke bina patta nahi hilta. Waise hi West Bengal me Mamata hain. (Without Sonia, not a leaf moves in Congress. Similarly there are other women in UP, TN and West Bengal).

The SP chief warned the government that if the women's bill was pushed by force, his party would hit the streets, holding rallies and demonstrations, for which he sought to rope in RJD and JD(U).

"We are ready. Laluji be ready. Sharadji (Sharad Yadav), you also be ready," Yadav said.

He reminded the Congress about how SP saved the Manmohan Singh government last year by extending support on nuclear deal issue. The SP, in turn, paid for it by suffering losses, he added.

Yadav suggested that instead of reservation in Lok Sabha, women should be given quota in parties, may be up to 20 per cent, and those who do not provide it should be derecognised.

He said BJP leader L K Advani had called him a few years back and endorsed the view about reservation in parties.

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