This time Congress, SP and RJD seem to be on the same page on the Women’s Reservation Bill. They are demanding OBC quota in women reservation only. There is similar consensus among other parties of the opposition alliance also. The opposition alliance is unanimous on other issues related to this bill also. But among these parties, there are many parties which were not unanimous on the Women’s Reservation Bill brought by the previous UPA government and due to this the bill could not be passed by the Lok Sabha.
However, as soon as the Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the opposition termed the bill as a jumla because it imposed conditions for census and delimitation. The parties said the bill is a big betrayal of women’s expectations as there is no clear date for its implementation. Apart from this, opposition parties criticized the government for not providing quota for backward classes.
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi also demanded reservation for OBCs in the Women’s Reservation Bill on Wednesday. Earlier, Congress President and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge demanded OBC quota during his speech in the House on Tuesday. He said in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ‘Unless constitutional amendments give one-third quota to OBCs, they will suffer losses. Their women will not get the benefit. If you do not do this, it will be injustice to the backward classes.
RJD leader Manoj Kumar Jha said, ‘If the idea behind the Women’s Reservation Bill was to ensure wider representation to women, then it could not have happened without reaching out to women from SC, ST and OBC…’
SP leader Akhilesh Yadav said that women’s reservation should be a balance of gender justice and social justice. In this, reservation for backward, Dalit, minority, tribal (PDA) women should be clear in definite percentage form. Nitish Kumar has also said that within the scope of women’s reservation, provision for reservation should also be made for women from backward and extremely backward classes like Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Congress had failed to push the bill in the Lok Sabha in 2010 due to strong opposition from SP and RJD. However, it was then approved in the Rajya Sabha. At that time SP and RJD were only demanding quota within quota for other backward classes and minorities.
This is the reason why when Congress also raised the issue of OBC quota, there was unanimity in the opposition alliance India.
Despite the disagreement of opposition alliance parties with BJP on these issues, most of the parties including Congress will not oppose this bill, but the opposition is demanding reservation for OBCs during the discussion on the bill in Parliament.
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Sanjay Singh, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, a member of the opposition alliance, has said, ‘So that the blame for this does not fall on the India alliance, it has been agreed that we will support this bill. But we will also register our protest and tell the intentions of Narendra Modi and his party BJP that just as all their promises are just a joke, this too is a joke. We will bring this bill in its correct form in 2024.
Some opposition parties have said that they will bring amendments proposing reservation for OBCs. CPI(M) and AAP criticized the government, while parties like Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, and Bahujan Samaj Party reiterated their demand for quota within quota for OBCs.