"This is a diversionary tactic": Rahul Gandhi calls govt to implement women's quota, caste census right away
When asked whether he regrets that the OBC quota was not provided by the UPA in 2010, Gandhi said, "100 per cent regret hai. We will get this done.”
Making a renewed pitch for the immediate implementation of the women's reservation bill and the caste census, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday, 22 September, attacked Modi government for delaying the implementation of the bill.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi after the bill was unanimously passed by the Lok Sabha (on Wednesday) and the Rajya Sabha (on Thursday), Gandhi criticised the Modi government for including 'delimitation' and 'census' as preconditions for the implementation of the quota.
“Women’s reservation is a good thing, but we found two footnotes — one is that the census will have to be done before implementation of the bill, and the second is delimitation… The government has presented this before the country but it will be implemented 10 years from now. Nobody knows if this will even be implemented. This is a diversionary tactic,” he said at the briefing.
Saying that implementation of the quota is not a complicated matter, the Congress leader accused the BJP-led government of using delimitation and census as reasons to defer reservation indefinitely.
“As the prime minister keeps saying he is an OBC leader, I want him to explain why only three OBCs are in the government of India. And why the OBC community, which is the backbone of this country, is responsible for only 5 per cent of the budget,” Gandhi said, adding that the cabinet ministers have not been able to answer this question.
“In fact, when I said this, I saw in the face the panic—because this is what they are trying to distract India from,” he continued.
When asked whether he regrets that the OBC quota was not provided by the UPA in its 2010 version of the women's reservation bill, Rahul Gandhi said, "100 per cent regret hai. This should have been done then. We will get this done.”
On Thursday, 21 September, Parliament passed the women's reservation bill after the 214 lawmakers present in the Rajya Sabha voted unanimously in its favour. The 128th Constitution amendment bill, referred to as the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam by the union government, will now require the approval of a majority of the state assemblies.
Even if approved, the quota will be implemented only after a delimitation exercise to redraw parliamentary and assembly constituencies based on the next census to be completed (it is not yet scheduled either).