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Women Reservation Bill: PM calls all-party meeting
Monday, March 08, 2010 05:15:34 PM, ANI
New Delhi: With proceedings in Parliament all but suspended over the tabling and expected passage of the more than decade-old Women’s Reservation Bill on Monday, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has called for an all-party meeting in the hope of arriving at a political consensus and avoid the Bill being put to a voice vote later this evening.
Prior to this, the Prime Minister has had meetings with Congress stalwarts Pranab Mukherjee, Ahmed Patel and P.K.Bansal, UPA allies and with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) party chief Lalu Prasad and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. The latter two have announced a withdrawal of outside support to the government over the issue.
Senior leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad have opted to skip the meeting, a private channel reported. Lalu and Mulayam reportedly have stated that the Women’s Bill is being forced upon them by the Congress, and that it does not protect the interest of Dalits, Other Backward Classes and the minorities.
There were repeated disruptions to proceedings in Parliament on Monday on the issue, leading the chair of both houses to adjourn debate on at least four occasions. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said the onus of getting the Bill passed in Parliament lies with the Government.
A similar protest has been witnessed over the past 14 years, with opponents of the Bill repeatedly opposing the Bill that seeks to reserve a third of seats for women in parliament and State Assemblies.
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