Wednesday, Jul 16, 2003
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By Our Staff Correspondent
Describing it as "abdication" of the BJP's responsibility to put the Bill to vote in Parliament, Brinda Karat of the All-India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) said the Centre was "just buying time" to conceal its opposition to the Bill.
The Joint Action Front for Women coordinator, Ranjana Kumari, said the BJP had tried to "scuttle" the Women's Bill because the logistics of the "double-member constituencies" concept would never work and it would be a huge burden on the national exchequer to maintain two elected representatives from one constituency.
Rejecting the concept, she said the BJP had clearly backed out from its commitment to give reservation to women as promised in its election manifesto. "The Samajwadi Party can bring in any number of amendments to the Bill if it is allowed to come up for a debate,'' she said asking the SP chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav, to move a resolution in the House to allow 20 per cent seats for women.
The women's groups have rejected the proposal on two grounds. First, the Lok Sabha has passed a resolution to freeze the present number of seats and to postpone delimitation until the next elections and, second, instead of redressing the present system of gender injustice and discrimination, the proposal further marginalises women and reduces them to "add-ons''. The organisations that have criticised the proposal include the Guild of Service, the Muslim Women's Front, the Young Women's Christian Association, the Joint Women's Programme, and the Mahila Dakshata Samiti.
Meanwhile, these groups will organise a rally in the Capital on July 25 to mobilise support for their cause. They have written to all Members of Parliament to send "letters of commitment" to them as a token of support for the Bill.
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