Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday hit out at the Opposition for calling the Women’s Reservation Bill a “jumla”, and said the Narendra Modi government was determined to implement the legislation in letter and spirit.
“Those who are calling the Bill a jumla, I would like to tell them, it will be implemented in letter and spirit and women will be guaranteed seats in Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies,” Irani said, participating in the debate on the proposed legislation in the lower house of parliament.
On Tuesday, after the Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh had dubbed it the “biggest election jumla”.
During her speech, Irani said the bill brought by the BJP government guarantees reservation to women for 15 years after the implementation of the legislation.
Countering Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s demand for immediate implementation of the legislation once it was passed by Parliament, Irani wondered whether the opposition leaders did not want to follow the process as mentioned in the Constitution.
“Should we not abide by the Constitution? is that the position taken by the leaders of the opposition parties?” she posed.
Irani said the previous governments had failed to pass the bill, but the present regime would succeed in doing so.
On Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra’s criticism that the Bill did not have any quota for women, she replied: “Reservation cannot be given on the basis of religion, reservation on the basis of religion is unconstitutional.”
Irani said empowerment and upliftment of women is a mission for the Modi government.
“Women’s upliftment is the mission of the government of PM Narendra Modi,” said Irani.
Earlier in the day, Sonia Gandhi supported the Bill tabled 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 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 along with that, provisions should be made for reservations for women from SC, ST and OBC communities by holding a caste census,” she said.