Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to take advantage of his party’s majority in the Lower House and pass the Women’s Reservation bill that has been pending since 2010.
The Rajya Sabha had, in 2010, passed the Women’s Reservation bill, which then sent back to the Lok Sabha.
According to data by PRS Legislative, of the 543 MPs elected, a mere 62 are women. However, this is the highest number of women MPs elected to the Lok Sabha ever. In the 15th Lok Sabha (2009 general elections) 58 women were elected to the Lower House.
Here is the full text of the letter Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi:
Dear Prime Minister,
You may recall that the Rajya Sabha had passed the Women’s Reservation Bill on March 9, 2010. Since then, however, it has languished in the Lok Sabha for one reason or another.
I am writing to request you to take advantage of your majority in the Lok Sabha to now get the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in the Lower House as well. The Congress Party has always and will continue to support this legislation which will be a significant step forward in the empowerment of women. You may recall that it was, in fact, the Congress Party and its late leader Shri Rajiv Gandhi who first mooted the provision for reservation for women in panchayats and nagarpalikas in the Constitution Amendment Bills which the Opposition parties thwarted in the Rajya Sabha in 1989 but later were passed by both Houses of Parliament in 1993 becoming the 73rd and 74th Amendments.
Sonia Gandhi (Ends)
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan
Earlier this year, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the bill should be given “respectfully” without any bickering.
“When we ask for reservation, it is not like somebody is giving us something. It is because it is important that women should come ahead. They are fifty per cent of the population but in making a nation, they are a full circle. “All of us are for reservation. We don’t want something like that…somebody tears off documents in Parliament… Somebody is shouting ‘yes, yes, yes’ and somebody is saying ‘no, no, no’. It is respectfully that the reservation should given,” she said.
The CPI-M, too, in July this year, urged the ruling NDA alliance to pass the bill.
“Before the Lok Sabha elections, the Prime Minister had promised the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill. Now the government should ensure its passage,” CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had said.
The Women’s Reservation Bill or the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008, had sought to reserve one-third of all seats in the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies for women.