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Women Reservation Bill: SP, RJD withdraw support to UPA Govt.

Monday, March 08, 2010 02:05:53 PM, Agencies

SP Leader Mulayam Singh Yadav (left) with RJD Supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav

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New Delhi: The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Monday said that they had decided to withdraw support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over differences on the Women’s Reservation Bill.

“We have decided to pull out. We have withdrawn our support to the government,” RJD chief Lalu Prasad told reporters outside parliament after an uproar in the two houses over the bill that seeks to reserve 33 percent of legislative seats for women.


“We are not opposing the bill per se. We want, and the nation wants, that the reservation should be given to backward women who don’t have resources. The real India should be empowered. Give them 50 percent reservation. We will not oppose that,” Lalu Prasad said in a joint news conference with SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.


Both parties have been supporting the UPA government from outside.

However, the technical part of withdrawing their support remains till they submit a letter to President Pratibha Patil.


The RJD (4) and SP (22) together have 26 MPs in the Lok Sabha.


'Uproar in the Parliament'

Earlier, both Houses of the Parliament were adjourned till noon on Monday following an opposition uproar to the Women’s Reservation Bill tabled by Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily.


Representatives of the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Rashstriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) demanded reservation for Dalit, Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and the minority community in the Bill.


In the Rajya Sabha, the SP and the RJD disrupted Question Hour over the implementation of the Mr. Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission Report on Minority Welfare.


Soon after the Chairman of the Upper House, Mohammad Hamid Ansari read out a message on the International Women''s Day, SP and RJD members demanded a discussion on why the commission’s report recommending reservation to minorities, was not being implemented.


Ansari said they could raise the issue during Zero Hour and pleaded with them to allow Question Hour to proceed.


SP and RJD members, however, continued to shout slogans seeking implementation of the report. They then moved towards the Well of the House forcing Ansari to adjourn the house.


In the Lok Sabha, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD president Lalu Prasad joined their party MPs in raising slogans as the speaker tried to continue the question hour amid the din.


Some SP and BSP MPs tried to disrupt the proceedings by gathering near the speaker’s podium. The MPs from the three parties demanded that the bill should ensure a “quota within the quota” for women from backward classes.


At one stage, Mulayam Singh had a verbal spat with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the leader of the house. A desperate Mukherjee appealed to Mulayam Yadav with folded hands to end the disruption.


Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav, one of the bitterest critics of the bill, was not present in the house.


Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and his deputy V. Narayanasamy also tried to pacify Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad but failed.


Unable to bring peace, the speaker adjourned the house at 11.20 a.m.






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