Women's reservation bill
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar’s bid to test waters on women’s reservation in legislatures failed to break fresh ground with known dissenters either staying away or reiterating opposition to a gender specific quota. The Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party did not attend discussions while RJD and Janata Dal (U) expressed reservations over the proposed 33% quota for women. RJD’s Raghuvansh Prasad Singh raised the backward caste demand for a sub-quota. Shiv Sena, on the other hand, wants a percentage of tickets set aside for women. But others like the BJP, Left constituents, AIADMK, DMK, BJD, SAD and TMC supported the bill. Kumar said she would talk to the parties and that “efforts will continue till consensus is achieved”. She said another meeting would be convened before the monsoon session of Parliament. Government sources also said the ruling coalition did not want to repeat strong-arm tactics resorted to in Rajya Sabha where MPs opposed to the bill were physically removed. The hunt for a middle ground may see the government searching for a formula that reduces the quota quantum. Supporting parties said the bill be brought to Lok Sabha in Parliament’s monsoon session beginning on August 1. CPM’s Basudeb Acharia said, “We’ve been asking from the very beginning that the bill in its present form should be introduced. Even if it fails, the bill should be brought in the next session and passed.” Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj also said that opposition to the bill should be expressed by walking out and not by disrupting proceedings.