Will The Bill Help?
September 24, 2015, Chennai
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While the fate of the Bill and because of it, even that of the Union government hangs in balance, many questions are raised for and against the Bill. The Congress wanted to score over others in its ‘concern’ for women. The BJP and the leftists too didn’t want to be seen lagging behind.
SP and RJD have their own master plans and so they decided to oppose it ‘in the present form.’ Though in fact they don’t want reservation to women at all, politically they cannot state that. They have done what they could – announcing the withdrawal of support to the UPA Government.
Though earlier the DMK too was insisting on reservation within the reservation, they chose to support the Bill in the present form and bring in the issue of sub-reservation later.
Meanwhile, our Cho S Ramaswamy says he totally disagrees with the very concept of reservation for women in Parliament and legislatures. ‘Women can compete with men, as they are doing now, and get elected. Nobody prevents that; it’s equal opportunity for all.
If certain constituencies are going to be reserved for women, what will happen? The men of the various parties who have represented the constituencies will nominate their wives, daughters or someone close to them and that will be accepted by the parties because the popularity and hold that these men have in their places will matter in the elections. And so there will be nepotism since the sitting MLA and MP will be represented by his wife or daughter. It will be benami membership of the Parliament.’
I don’t agree with this view. Even sixty three years after independence, the representation of women in Parliament and Assemblies is pathetically poor, considering the fact that women comprise half of India’s population.
Whenever a new social order is envisaged, there might be some aberrations or teething troubles to begin with. But, in the long run, women will be empowered enough to come out and fight for their rights. Without a mandatory provision, the men-folk are not going to allow adequate number of women to enter legislative bodies.