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Samajwadi Party, Fiercest Critic Of Women’s Quota Bill, To Support It? What MP Said


Akhilesh Yadav said quota should be a balance of gender justice and social justice. (file)

New Delhi:

Soon after the women’s reservation bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha by the centre, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, whose party has been a fierce critic of the bill in its present form since its inception 27 years ago, said the quota should be a balance of gender justice and social justice. Referencing PDA — Pichde, Dalit, Alpasankhyak (Backward Classes, Dalits, Minorities), his formula to defeat the ruling BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls — he said reservation for them should be clear in definite percentage form.

Amid speculations about the reaction of INDIA bloc parties who have been opposed to the bill, Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav, Secretary-General of Akhilesh Yadav’s party, told NDTV that they will offer support to the bill, but also put forth their position.

“We have never been against women’s reservation, but our objection was about the present form of the bill. We were demanding since the beginning that there should be reservation for OBC women according to their population. Members of the majority party, the BJP, and their colleagues, and many others, don’t favour OBC women. Our party will support the bill, but we will try for reservation for OBC women in future as well. I am sure that one day the number of those people who are of the opinion that OBC women should get reservation will be a majority in this house, and we will do it,” he said.

Samajwadi Party leaders, along with others from Lalu Yadav’s RJD and Sharad Yadav who once headed the JD(U), had tried to disrupt the passage of the bill on several occasions, by storming the well of the house, and even trying to snatch the copy of the bill while it was being introduced.

In 2008, when the bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party MP Abu Asim Azmi and his party colleagues had tried to snatch the bill copy from then law minister Hansaraj Bhardwaj.

Akhilesh Yadav’s father and party patriarch late Mulayam Singh Yadav had at least twice courted controversy for his remarks on how the reservation would benefit only affluent women.

In 2012, when asked about his demand for a quota within the quota, he remarked “…bade ghar ki ladkiya aur mahilayen ko fayda milega… humari gaon ki gareeb mahilayon ko nahin… akarshak nahi hoti…bas itna kahunga… jyada nahi… (The women reservation bill in its present form would only benefit rich and urban women… our poor and rural women are not attractive… will not say beyond this).”

Two years earlier, when the bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha for approval in March 2010, he said, “The Women’s Reservation Bill, if passed in present format, would provoke young men to whistle in parliament.”

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