Women's reservation bill and MoS Prahlad Patel's missing X post

Also posting on X, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said the party welcomed the 'reported decision' of the Union cabinet and awaited details of the bill

Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the eve of the CWC meeting in Hyderabad, where she and other top party leaders demanded the passage of the bill (photo: Getty Images)
Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the eve of the CWC meeting in Hyderabad, where she and other top party leaders demanded the passage of the bill (photo: Getty Images)

NH Digital

The Union cabinet at a meeting on Monday evening had approved the women's reservation bill, minister of state for food processing Industries and jal shakti Prahlad Singh Patel said on X, though no official announcement was made by the BJP-led central government.

"Only the Modi government had the moral courage to fulfil the demand for women's reservation which was proved by the approval of the cabinet. Congratulations Narendra Modi ji and congratulations to the Modi government," the minister wrote in Hindi on X.

Curiously, Patel's post appeared to be deleted a little later, though the news had already spread through agencies by then, and several X users had taken screenshots of the post.

As news of the Cabinet meeting spread, Ramesh took to X once again to say, "It's been a long-standing demand of the Congress party to implement women's reservation. We welcome the reported decision of the Union Cabinet and await the details of the Bill. This could have very well been discussed at the all-party meeting before the Special Session, and consensus could have been built instead of operating under a veil of secrecy.".

The Union cabinet met this evening after the first sitting of the five-day special session of Parliament. The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lasted for over 90 minutes.

Cutting across political lines, party leaders, including former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, have demanded the introduction of the Women's Reservation Bill, which guarantees a 33 per cent quota for women members in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

The bill, which was passed in the Rajya Sabha during the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government over a decade ago, was still alive as the Rajya Sabha never dissolves.

At the first meeting of a reconstituted Congress Working Committee on 16-17 September in Hyderabad, the demand had once again been made to pass the bill as soon as possible.

Posting on X on 17 September, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh had written:

"The Congress Working Committee has demanded that the Women’s Reservation Bill must be passed during the Special Session of Parliament. Here are some facts on the issue:

1. Rajiv Gandhi first introduced Constitution Amendment Bills for one-third reservation in panchayats and nagarpalikas in May 1989. It passed in Lok Sabha but failed in Rajya Sabha in September 1989.

2. Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao reintroduced Constitution Amendment Bills for one-third reservation for women in panchayats and nagarpalikas in April 1993. Both Bills passed and became law.

3. Now there are more than 15 lakh elected women representatives in panchayats and nagarpalikas. This comes to about 40%.

4. As PM, Dr. Manmohan Singh brought Constitution Amendment Bill for one-third reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures. Bill passed on March 9, 2010 in the Rajya Sabha. But it was not taken up in Lok Sabha.

5. Bills introduced/ passed in Rajya Sabha do not lapse. Women's Reservation Bill is still very much active."

The Women's Reservation Bill passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010 had provision for 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

Addressing the media earlier, Prime Minister Modi had said "historic decisions" would be taken during this Parliament session, which may be of short duration but is "big on occasion".

The cabinet meeting was attended by Union ministers including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Piyush Goyal, Pralhad Joshi, S Jaishankar, Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan, Nitin Gadkari and Arjun Ram Meghwal.

Ever since it was announced that the Parliament session would be held from 18-22 September, there has been speculation on various bills, including the Women's Reservation Bill.

In his remarks in the Lok Sabha during the discussion on 75 years of Parliament, PM Modi asserted that the contribution of women parliamentarians has been on the rise over the years.

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