Women’s Reservation Bill

The demand for 33% reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies is a long pending demand of the women’s movement, CITU and several other trade unions. The BJP led NDA government had dramatically introduced the Women’s Reservation Bill as the 128th Constitutional amendment bill in the ongoing special session of Parliament, when it has less than six months’ tenure left. The bill is supposed to get passed in both the houses of Parliament.

BJP had promised to ensure 33% reservation to women in Parliament and state assemblies in its election manifesto before 2014 parliament elections and reiterated in 2019 parliament elections. The bill has provision for sub quota for women within reserved quota for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The bill, as introduced in Parliament now, has been linked to the next Census, which is yet to begin, the delimitation process and also requires ratification by at least half the state assemblies.So the one-third reservations for women in Parliament and state assemblies will come into effect not before 2029.

Thus, the introduction of the Womens’ Reservation Bill at the fag end of the tenure of this BJP government,which is marked by itsmanuvadi ideology and notoriously anti- women attitude,has to be seen as a deceptive act of image building to camouflage its failures.

One must recall the attitude of this BJP government towards the Olympian women wrestlers demanding action against Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, BJP MP, for sexual harassment.Instead of taking action against him as per law, the women wrestlers who brought laurels for the country were thrashed and beaten up on the streets, on the day of inauguration of the new Parliament house. It is a historical irony that the very government is forced to bring in the women’s reservation bill as the first bill in the first session in the new parliament house in an effort of image building.

CITU and its women’s sub-committee, the All India Coordination Committee of Working Women(CITU), along with the women’s organisations has been consistently in the forefront in the struggles for 33% reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures for the last three decades. It is the duty of the working class movement in general and working women in particular to carry on this struggle for representation in decision making till it is implemented.

Issued by
Tapan Sen
General Secretary

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