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Women’s reservation bill: Mandal parties largely on board but demand quota within quota

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New Delhi: Mandal parties from UP, Bihar and Jharkhand on Tuesday questioned the government’s intention to implement women’s reservation in general and assembly elections. The parties decided to support the bill. However, their demand for inclusion of OBC reservation within women’s reservation remains.

When a similar bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010, these parties aggressively demanded to include reservation within reservation. “Anti-OBC forces are currently dominating Parliament. So no justice is being done for OBC women. However, we will not obstruct the bill and will help the government in passing it,” Javed Ali, Samajwadi Party MP in Rajya Sabha, told ET. “Once the parties, with the aim of doing social justice come to power, we will change it to include OBC in this reservation”.

RJD called the bill a ‘fraud’ by the government saying it was a ‘post-dated promise’. “If the idea behind the women’s reservation bill is to ensure the widest representation among women, it cannot be without reaching out to women from SCs, STs and OBCs,” said RJD leader Manoj Jha, on ET.

Jha said the government should have accommodated OBC, SC and ST women in the 33% reservation it makes for women in the bill.

RJD does not want to be seen as opposing women’s reservation but will raise objections to the current form of the bill. RJD sources told ET that they will not block the bill.

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BSP chief Mayawati demanded that the reservation be increased from the proposed 33% to 50% and that separate quota for SC/STs and OBCs should be included in the bill. JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya told ET that the bill without census and delimitation is a farce. “Now the bill says it will be implemented only after census and delimitation. In that case, we will support this bill,” he told ET. He added that OBC reservation may be a concern of some parties but JMM is fine with the provision for SC/STs. Bihar CM and JDU leader Nitish Kumar welcomed the bill and said that the state government has taken several initiatives to increase women’s participation at the local level. He demanded that like SC and ST women, the bill should have provisions for OBC and EBC categories and for that a caste census should be conducted by the Centre.


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