Trinamool Congress’s Derek O Brien today gave two options to the Centre on quota for women in parliament and state assemblies. Speaking in Rajya Sabha during the debate on the women’s quota bill, he said the government should bring the bill in 2024, or give women quota in Rajya Sabha. Tucked in it was a third option — let the BJP get one-third women elected from their party.
His point: The BJP is not serious about empowering women — “It is one thing to give tickets. Another to give tickets that are winnable”. This he elucidated through two examples.
“In 2021, before Bengal assembly elections, the men came money, media, muscle power, misogyny and mocked her. Didi O Didi. You broke her foot. Smashed it. she gave you an answer truely like a woman. softly. The people of Bengal answered for her,” Mr O’Brien said in a job at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“After the election what happened? Bengal’s health ministry, finance ministry, land, industry, commerce ministries are all headed by women. You could not find one woman in 16 NDA states for Chief Minister,” he said.
His other example was from a news report that quoted Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as saying that men “become gods” when they achieve womanly qualities, and women, when they develop masculine qualities, become “rakshas (demons)”.
“You can build a new building, but first you need to change your mindset,” he added.
The historic women’s reservation bill, which envisages giving 33 per cent seats to women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies, which was in freeze for decades, was passed by the Lok Sabha yesterday. It got support from across the board, with only two MPS voting against it.
The bill was presented in Rajya Sabha today. While the Opposition agrees in principle with the reservation, they refuse to accept the government’s time frame.
The reservation can only be implemented after a census and delimitation exercise, which, under Constitution’s Article 82, can be conducted after 2026, which pushes the implementation to 2029 or beyond. While the government has said that the census and delimitation will begin after next year’s general election, implementing quota sooner may call for fresh legislation.