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Manmohan’s assurance to AIDWA on Women’s Reservation Bill

Thursday 5 May 2005

Staff Correspondent

AIDWA reminds him of the promise given in the CMP

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PTI
FOR WOMEN: CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat and her party colleague Suhasini Ali leading a march to Parliament in New Delhi on Wednesday seeking passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.

NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, on Wednesday assured a women’s delegation that the Women’s Reservation Bill would be tabled in Parliament in the next session as negotiations were on with other political parties to arrive at a consensus on the issue.

Dr. Singh told the All-India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) that he supported the Bill and felt that it should be passed at the earliest but some political parties had reservations over it, according to the AIDWA general secretary, Sudha Sundararaman. The Home Minister is holding the negotiations with other political parties, the delegation was told.

Mock parliament

The 10-member delegation called on the Prime Minister after women from across the country participated in a mock women’s parliament here. The session reflected attitudes of various political parties towards the Bill, at the end of which the Bill was passed.

Disappointing

Reminding Dr. Singh of the solemn assurance given in the National Common Minimum Programme that the Government would pass the Bill, the memorandum said that it was disappointing that the Bill had not been listed for discussion in the current session.

"While we do appreciate the difficulties that a coalition Government may face in passing legislation that is not totally acceptable to all its partners, this cannot be a justification for the non-implementation of solemn assurances," the memorandum said.

AIDWA president Subhashini Ali told the Prime Minister that thousands of their members from all over the country had assembled to press for the passage of the Bill.

They represented millions of women whose patience was now being exhausted by the refusal of successive governments to initiate even a serious discussion on the Bill, let alone ensure its passage.

"We appeal to you to make a clean break with this attitude which smacks of not only gender insensitivity but insensitivity to the process of making democracy more inclusive and vibrant. We would request you to place the Bill for a thorough discussion in Parliament and to ensure that a vote is taken on it. If this is done with sincerity, the enactment of the Bill will become a reality,’’ the memorandum said.

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