Women quota: Parliament set to create history

Parliament

Parliament appears set to create history as the Rajya Sabha takes up the Women's Reservation Bill on Monday with Congress, BJP and Left parties joining hands in favour of the measure and divisions emerging among the opponents.

Passage of the Bill, hanging fire for 13 years for want of consensus, in the Rajya Sabha, where it is scheduled for consideration on Monday, is almost a certainty given the formidable strength of its backers - Congress, BJP and the Left parties and a number of other smaller parties like TDP, DMK, AIADMK, Akali Dal and National Conference.

The Upper House has an effective strength of 233 and the voice of the opponents has been dented with Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar springing a surprise by suddenly turning a champion of the Bill. The opponents to the measure now number less than 26 in the House as the JD(U) remained sharply divided following Kumar's statement.

A constitution amendment needs a special majority in voting needing the support of 155 in the House. The bill has clear support of at least over 165 MPs now. Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily would be moving for consideration 'The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill', which is also known as Women's Reservation Bill to coincide with the International Women's Day tomorrow. The Bill seeks to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

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