Delimitation pointless, says Gandhi; Amit Shah urges house to pass Bill

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Union Minister Amit Shah speak on the Women's Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha. Highlights here

Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah in Lok Sabha (Photo: YouTube)

Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah in Lok Sabha (Photo: YouTube)

BS Web Team New Delhi
In the second half of the Lok Sabha session debating the Women's Reservation Bill, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Union Minister Amit Shah both showed support for the Bill. While Amit Shah urged the members of parliament (MPs) to pass the Bill unanimously, since objecting would not bring reservation any faster, Rahul Gandhi spoke about the lack of Other Backward Classes (OBC) representation in the Bill and questioned the need for delimitation & census, which would only delay the implementation. 

Here are the top highlights from the speeches of Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi:

There is no need for census and delimitation, pass the Bill today: Rahul Gandhi

Taking the floor, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi began his address by speaking on the issue of the Sengol and its representation on the transfer of power, drawing a parallel between the historic sceptre and furthering the transfer of power to women through the Women's Reservation Bill.

Also Read: The long journey of the Women's Reservation Bill in India explained

Gandhi stated, "It was a huge step forward in the transfer of power to women in the Panchayat Raj, where women were given reservation and were allowed to enter the political system at scale. This is another big step."

He added that while everyone in the room agreed that the Bill was an important step and Gandhi also supported the women's quota, he reiterated the lack of provision for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the draft.

"I would have liked to see OBC reservation in this Bill. I think it is very important for a large chunk of India's population to have this reservation," he stated.

He said, "This is a nice building but frankly I would have liked to see the President of India during this transfer (shift from old to new parliament building)."

"President is a woman, from tribal community, would've been befitting to have her visible in transfer to the new Parliament building," Rahul Gandhi added in the Lok Sabha.

He went on to speak about OBC participation in other important government institutions, highlighting that only three out of 90 of the secretaries in the government of India belonged to the OBC community and handled five per cent of the nation's budget.

Emphasising the size of the OBC community in India, Gandhi urged the Centre to conduct its caste census on priority and release the results.

Concluding his address in the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi stated, "Please pass the Bill today, there is no need for census and delimitation. Just hand over the 33 per cent (reservation) to women."

Taking a jibe at the Centre, he added, "... and change this (list of secretaries to the government of India)."

Women reservation is not at all a political issue for BJP: Amit Shah

Following the Opposition's address, Union Home Minister Amit Shah took the floor and recalled the auspicious events of the previous day, which included the move to the new parliament building, celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi, and the introduction of the Women's Reservation Bill to the Lok Sabha.

Speaking on the Bill, the Home Minister stated, "The moment we pass this Bill, 1/3rd of seats in Lok Sabha and all state Assemblies will be reserved for the women of India."

"Not only will the women get the benefit of the schemes, but they will also get the opportunity to frame those schemes once we pass this Bill," he added. Stating that all women-led development will happen through this Bill as they will be able to frame policies and benefit from schemes.

The union minister went on to speak about the accomplishments of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), specifically progress of the women of the country under schemes implemented under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.

He started by recalling that after PM Modi's resignation from the post of chief minister of Gujarat, he donated all his income to the education of the daughter of Class III and IV employees of Gujarat Sachivalay.

Shah spoke on how the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign improved the sex ratio and drastically reduced the dropout rate of women from education. 70 per cent of Jan Dhan accounts are also under women's name, allowing the money allotted for various schemes to go directly to the accounts of women. Additionally, 100 million LPG connections have been established for women, and 40 million houses have been constructed.

Also Read: Women's Reservation Bill: Where else have seats been reserved for women?

Amit Shah emphasised, "Women reservation is not at all a political issue for BJP... We want to ensure the participation of women in policy-making."

Addressing the objections raised by the Opposition, Amit Shah clarified, "We have 3 categories of MPs: General, SC, and ST. And there will be 33 per cent reservation for women in each"

Going by the law, Shah stated that the "Delimitation Commission" is necessary to have a transparent system of selecting the constituencies for reservation. He added that even if we enact the Bill today, it will take time to set everything up, hence, the 2026 time frame.

He took a jibe at the Opposition while explaining the delimitation process and said, "If we (BJP) reserve the seats arbitrarily and reserve Wayanad seat for women, then you (Congress) will only come and complain. Same goes if we do it to Hyderabad. Owaisi Ji will complain".

He added that Article 330A and Article 332A have been recommended to ensure women's reservation in the Lok Sabha.

The union minister emphasised that opposing the Bill will not help the cause. He stated, "Not supporting the bill will not bring the reservation any faster." He added he hoped that the Bill would be passed with unanimity. 

First Published: Sep 20 2023 | 7:19 PM IST

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