New Delhi: With the government conceding to quota
for the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), backwards
classes and minorities in the Lokpal bill, the Yadav camp in
parliament is hopeful that a similar demand on the women's
reservation bill could be met.
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi has
said she will fight for both the Lokpal bill and the women's
reservation bill, which seeks to reserve 33 percent seats for
women in parliament and state legislatures. The women's quota bill
has been hanging fire in the Lok Sabha due to stiff opposition
from the Yadav trio -- Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav,
Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Sharad Yadav and Rashtriya Janata
Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.
The three have been demanding a "quota within quota" for backward,
SC, ST and minority within the 33 percent reservation proposed.
The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha amid high drama in March
Samajwadi Party general secretary Mohan Singh said with the
government giving in to their demand for quota in the Lokpal,
there was hope for the passage of the women's reservation bill.
"If the government is keen on passing the bill, it should agree to
our demand," Singh told IANS.
He said just like the women's bill, the government was initially
reluctant on quota in the Lokpal bill.
He said had the government agreed to their demand earlier, the
women's bill would have become a reality today.
RJD Lok Sabha MP Uma Shankar Singh too felt his party's demand
would now carry more weight. "We hope our demand on the women's
bill will be considered by the government," he said.
However, JD-U chief Sharad Yadav said the two issues should be
seen in a different light.
"There is vast difference between reservation and representation,"
Yadav told IANS, adding "the women's bill is a complex issue".
The Lokpal bill proposes 50 percent reservation for the SC, ST,
backwards, minorities and women in the eight-member panel of the
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expressed scepticism
over the issue.
"We do have hope on the women's bill, but it is too early to talk
about quota in Lokpal bill as it is yet to be cleared by
parliament," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said: "We need to build a
consensus on the issue among parties and need to find
(Amit Agnihotri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)