Wednesday, Mar 05, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
Speaking informally with reporters, Ms. Swaraj, said that she had already begun the process of talking to party leaders individually. On her list of leaders she will be talking to are the AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, Bahujan Samaj Party leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and Bihar Chief Minister, Rabri Devi, and other leaders, especially women in other parties, including Jaya Jaitly of the Samata Party, and Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress.
"I am trying to approach the women leaders first," she said and added that she had already spoken to Ms. Rabri Devi.
The meeting will discuss the Women's Reservation Bill which would give 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies by declaring that one-third of all seats be reserved for women. However, she had earlier made it clear that if there was no political consensus on this, then the Election Commission suggestion that it should be made mandatory for all parties to nominate women against one-third of the total seats they contest (with each State as a separate unit) should be considered.
The idea, she said, was to do something rather than nothing on this vital issue.
Asked about opposition from within the BJP Uma Bharti had opposed the move on the ground that it did not give reservation to women from backward castes Ms. Swaraj said that once the leadership makes up its mind all MPs will follow.
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