Rahul Gandhi backs Women’s Reservation Bill in LS, but demands OBC quota

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Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday supported the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha, but said it was “incomplete” without a quota for OBC representatives.

Presenting his views on the bill, Rahul Gandhi said the bill can be implemented today itself by allocating 33 per cent of Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha seats to women.

“I wonder this is not designed to push the ball forward, perhaps for another 9 years, and then let this thing play out the way it does,” he said.

On the issues of Census and delimitation which will be carried out before implementation of the bill, he said these two things seemed “strange” to him.

“There are two things that seem strange to me. One is the idea that you require a new Census to implement this bill, and the second is that you require a new delimitation to implement this bill,” said Rahul Gandhi.

He called the bill ‘incomplete’ without reservation for OBC women. “There is one thing in my view that makes this bill incomplete. I would have liked to see OBC reservation included in this bill. I think it’s very important that a large chunk of Indian women should have access to this reservation, and that is missing in this bill,” said Congress MP.

Referring to the provision of reservation in Panchayati Raj which empowered the women and allowed them to participate in the local body popitics, he said, “A huge step forward in the transfer of power to the women of India was the Panchayati Raj, where they were provided with reservations and allowed to enter the political system on a significant scale.”

Rooting for women’s reservation, he said this is a “significant step”.

“I believe that everyone in this room agrees that this is a crucial move for the women of our country. They fought for independence, and they are just as capable as any man, often even more capable, and should be given as much space as possible,” said the former Congress president.

Earlier in the day, Congress Parliamentary Party chief Sonia Gandhi also supported the Women’s Reservation Bill tabled in the Lok Sabha but called for its immediate implementation and an urgent “cast census” for including quotas for SC, ST and OBC representatives.

Initiating the debate from Congress party in the Lok Sabha on the bill, Sonia Gandhi said, “On behalf of the Congress party, I stand in support of the ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam 2023’ (Women’s Reservation Bill).”

“The Congress demands that this Bill be enforced immediately, and alone with that, provisions should be made for reservations for women from SC, ST and OBC communities by holding a caste census,” Sonia Gandhi said.

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