Women's reservation bill a poll jumla, huge betrayal of women, girls: Congress on bill applying after census

"In a season of election jumlas, this one is the biggest of them all. A huge betrayal of the hopes of crores of Indian women and girls," Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh wrote on X

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh (Photo: IANS)
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh (Photo: IANS)

NH Digital

The much-awaited women's reservation bill was tabled by law minister Arjun Meghwal in the Lok Sabha earlier this morning, 19 September. Even the Opposition were on board with this one, even before the start.

Before the session began, Indian National Congress parliamentarians had seemed positive and had pledged support prior to it being tabled — nay, had even owned it as their own.

So what happened in the Parliament session for the Congress to furiously tell the government soon after that the bill was tabled that it was all a big poll jumla and a "huge betrayal to the hopes of crores of Indian women and girls", as party general secretary Jairam Ramesh put it on X (formerly Twitter)?

"In a season of election jumlas, this one is the biggest of them all," Ramesh wrote on X.

The reason Ramesh, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, lashed out: the government has said the bill (even once it becomes an Act) will only actually result in reservation for women after the (long overdue) next census. And of course, there is no date supplied for the census in question.

"As we had pointed out earlier, Modi government has not yet conducted the 2021 decadal census, making India the only country in G20 that has failed to carry out the census," said Ramesh. "Now it says that the reservation for women will come into effect only following the first decadal census, conducted after the women’s reservation bill has become an Act. When will this census take place?"

"The bill also says the reservation (will) come into effect only after the publication of the next census and the subsequent delimitation exercise thereafter," the Congress communication in-charge said. "Will the Census and delimitation be done before the 2024 elections?

"Basically the bill gets the headlines today with a very vague promise of its implementation date. This is nothing but EVM — Event Management", Ramesh thundered.

The remarks from the Congress came soon after the government tabled the women's reservation bill in the Lok Sabha in the new parliament building. The discussion on it will be held on September 20.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on the subject: “Discussion on (the) women's reservation bill happened for a long time. During Atal Bihari Vajpayee's regime, the women's reservation bill was introduced several times but there was not enough majority to pass the bill."

"Today, God has given me the opportunity to take this forward... Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam will further empower our democracy," Modi added.

With inputs from IANS

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Published: 19 Sep 2023, 5:09 PM