Debating India


BJP opposes quota within quota

Saturday 6 August 2005

Special Correspondent

Party will support any of the four basic formulas on women’s reservation: Sushma

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party will support any of the four basic "formulas" on women’s reservation: reserving one-third of the present number of seats in all legislatures; declaring one-third of all seats "double-member" constituencies with one member being a woman; increasing the strength of legislatures as proposed by the Government and then reserving one-third of all seats for women; and lastly, as the Election Commission once suggested, making it mandatory for parties to give one-third of their seats to women.

The BJP’s only "condition" is that there should be "no quota [for backward castes] within the women’s quota," Sushma Swaraj, deputy leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha, said on Friday.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil agreed on this saying a quota within a quota would be unconstitutional and liable to be struck down by the Supreme Court, she told reporters after a meeting between a BJP team and three Union Ministers here.

The BJP described its approach as "very flexible." It did not want to become an obstacle to forward movement on the issue of increased representation to women.

However, increasing the strength of legislatures would be a lengthy process, Ms. Swaraj warned and said women might not get reservation even by 2014, not to speak of 2009.

The Home Minister thanked the BJP for its "blank cheque" of support, Ms. Swaraj said even as she blamed the Left for being "stubborn" and preventing a consensus.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani led the BJP representatives at the meeting where, besides Ms. Swaraj, Pramod Mahajan and V.K. Malhotra were present.

Telugu Desam parliamentary party leader Yerran Naidu said the TDP always supported women’s reservation.

See online : The Hindu

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