Right’s panel upbeat about women’s reservation bill

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) The National Commission for Women (NCW) Saturday expressed optimism over the passage of the women’s reservation bill that will be tabled in parliament Monday and said it is a triumph of 14 years of struggle.

‘We are very happy that the 14-year long struggle of this bill has been finally acknowledged and given a momentum,’ NCW chairperson Girija Vyas told reporters.

On the centenary edition of the International Women’s Day on Monday, Law Minister Veerappa Moily will present in the Rajya Sabha the bill to amend the constitution and reserve 33 percent of seats in parliament and the state legislatures.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left parties have decided to support it.

When asked about Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav being unwilling to supporting the bill, and suggesting a 20 percent quota for Dalit and minority women within the quota, Vyas said: ‘Laluji should change his mind. Most of the political parties are supporting the bill and even now Nitish Kumar has extended his support to the bill.’

Ranjana Kumari, director of Centre for Social Research, said: ‘We are not against 20 percent reservation for the Dalits and other minorities. But this should not be the excuse to stop the bill.’

Comparing India with Germany, which has 32 percent reservation for women in its parliament, Vyas said: ‘We are just asking for 33 percent not more. At least give us that much. Karnataka has given 40 percent reservation. I think it’s time to pass this bill.’

When asked about how the message would reach the poorest women who may not even know about this bill, Sudha Sundanraman, general secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association, said: ‘Passing the bill will be one step forward, then reaching the lowest section will happen slowly and gradually.’

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