Rahul Gandhi stated on Friday that the Congress “100% regrets” that it did not approve the women’s reservation bill while it was in office. He conceded that the historic measure might have been passed ten years ago if his party had agreed to the demand for a quota for women from OBC communities, which it rejected in 2010 but is now supporting.
OBC Quota Demand Sparks Regret as Women’s Bill Languishes
After criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party for a possible delay of another six years or more before the new bill takes effect, Rahul Gandhi replied, “100%… (we have) 100% regret.” The Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal called for a quota inside a quota for OBC women in 2010 when the United Progressive Alliance government led by the Congress had introduced its version of the bill. When the Congress denied that request, the SP and RJD withdrew their support in a rage. The bill was never introduced in the Lok Sabha despite passing the Rajya Sabha.
BJP’s Women’s Reservation Bill Faces Congress Criticism and Delay Concerns
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s version of the bill requires a census and delimitation, or redrawing of constituency boundaries, before implementation, which has drawn criticism from the Congress. This indicates that it probably won’t take effect until the 2029 election and might not until 2034. The opposition has banded together to denounce the government for this delay and demand that the quota be imposed right away instead of the procedures for conducting a census and delimitation.
Congress and BJP Clash Over Women’s Reservation Bill Delay
The BJP has responded by criticising the Congress for failing to approve this legislation and stated in Parliament on Thursday that the delay is necessary to provide “transparency” in the selection of the reserved seats. “What this (the census and delimitation provisions) means is this bill won’t be implemented now… it won’ be implemented today and this is something every woman in India should understand. If at all it is implemented, it will be 10 years from now,” Rahul Gandhi said. Rahul Gandhi also criticised the BJP for using the women’s reservation bill as a “diversionary tactic” to divert attention away from the call for a caste census, which the Congress MP claimed is necessary for a more thorough understanding of the numerous castes and communities that make up India’s enormous population.