Rahul Gandhi Advocates for Expedited Implementation of Women’s Reservation Bill, Calls for Census Clarity
Rahul Gandhi, an advocate for the women’s reservation bill, expressed his dissatisfaction with the Narendra Modi government’s handling of the matter. He called for the removal of two specific clauses pertaining to the Census and delimitation exercise, which are seen as prerequisites for the bill’s implementation. While Gandhi affirmed his party’s wholehearted support for the bill, he challenged the government to expedite the process by eliminating these clauses.
Speaking at a press conference held at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi, Gandhi critiqued the Bharatiya Janata Party’s grand parliamentary session and the transition to the new Parliament building. He pointed out that despite the ceremonious nature of the event, there are significant hurdles to overcome.
Gandhi underscored that the bill, aimed at reserving seats in Parliament and state assemblies, would face a ten-year delay due to the inclusion of the Census and delimitation clauses. He labeled this maneuver by the BJP as a “diversionary tactic” to sidestep the crucial issue of conducting a caste-based Census.
When questioned about the decision regarding the 2010 bill, which successfully passed the Rajya Sabha but faced resistance in the Lok Sabha due to demands for a separate OBC quota for women, Gandhi candidly admitted, “We regret that decision 100%…We also did the caste Census, we didn’t release it at that time due to some reasons but it should be released now.”
During his research for a parliamentary address, Gandhi was struck by the stark lack of representation for Other Backward Classes among high-ranking officials. Out of a total of 90 secretaries, only three belonged to the OBC category. This prompted him to question whether this level of representation is adequate for a community that constitutes potentially up to 50% of the population.
Gandhi stressed the importance of data in ensuring equitable distribution of power among the populace. He raised valid concerns about the delay in releasing earlier data and conducting the Census, especially considering the Prime Minister’s self-proclaimed identity as an OBC leader.
In response to inquiries about the underrepresentation of marginalized communities during the Congress-led UPA government, Gandhi acknowledged the shortcomings, stating that there is a need for substantial change to empower the disadvantaged.
He concluded by asserting that the BJP’s attempts to delay the bill’s implementation by a decade are futile and emphasized the urgency of taking meaningful action now that the bill has received parliamentary approval, with unanimous support from the Rajya Sabha.