Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Women quota Bill tabled in RS amid scuffle, drama

The Women's Reservation Bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha amid some high-voltage drama, including scuffles and protests. H.R. Bhardwaj introduced the Bill even as Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi tried to snatch its copy from his hands. What followed were unprecedented dramatic scenes with woman and child development minister Renuka Choudhary and other Congress members pushing the SP member away from Bhardwaj to repulse his attempts. Renuka Choudhary termed the behaviour of SP members “shameful and condemnable”. Her sentiments were echoed by Najma Heptulla, who too called the behaviour of the SP members “shameful”. “It will not be a smooth sailing for the Bill... It can never be a smooth sailing for women anywhere in the world. But we will not be intimidated at any cost. The Bill will definitely be passed,” Renuka added. The controversial Bill was introduced in the Upper House with the consequence that it would not lapse. It would be referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament.

A phalanx of women warriors today won the day for the government and their gender.Rock solid in defence, they even managed to “spare the life” of a lunging male. “Had I pushed him, there would have been byelections,” said minister Renuka Chowdhury, possibly as a joke but I would not guarantee that.

IMO: Reminds one somewhat of Emily Pankhurst in the UK and of course the more recent Swiss victories. But of course this is for guaranteed parliamentary representation of women, not quite the same issue but of perhaps greater local relevance nonetheless.

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