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Women�s Reservation Bill passed in RS

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, March 9 � History was created in the Rajya Sabha today when it voted by an overwhelming majority a Bill to reserve one-third of seats in Lok Sabha and Assemblies for women after government pushed ahead with it, ignoring possible threats to its stability and after eviction of troublesome MPs opposed to it, reports PTI.

14 years after the first attempt was made in the Lok Sabha and repeated failures subsequently, the Constitution amendment bill was adopted in the mandatory division with 186 members voting for it and one voting against.

In the 245-member House with an effective strength of 233, the bill required the backing of at least 155 members and the UPA had the clear support of 165 in the run up to the event.

The bill seeks to reserve for women 181 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha and 1,370 out of a total of 4,109 seats in the 28 State Assemblies.

Ruling UPA constituent Trinamool Congress, which has two members, kept away from voting, while 15-member BSP, which has opposed the bill in its present form, walked out before voting.

JD(U), whose president Sharad Yadav is a staunch opponent of the bill, appears to have backed the bill fully with most of its 7 members voting for it in response to the call by one of its senior leaders and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who intervened in the discussion, described the occasion as a �momentous� and the legislation as a �historic and great� step in the empowerment of women.

�It is not not an anti-minority or anti-SC or ST bill. But it only carries forward the emancipation of women,� he said in his brief speech allaying apprehensions of opponents like SP and RJD that the bill was aimed against Muslim, OBC and dalit women.

Last-ditch efforts by opponents of the bill, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who have threatened to withdraw support, and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, failed to persuade Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi from not not going ahead with the legislation in its present form.

The bill had the backing of all the UPA constituents, minus Trinamool Congress, the BJP, the Left parties and a number of small parties like the AIADMK and TDP.

The measure will now now go to Lok Sabha where also the ruling UPA has the numbers to get it passed with support from BJP, Left and other small parties backing it, notwithstanding opposition from SP, RJD and a divided JD(U).

Gandhi expressed confidence that the government�s stability was not not under threat over passage of the bill.

Apparently peeved over the importance given to Left parties by the government in getting the bill passed, Trinamool Congress, the largest constituent of the UPA after the Congress, kept away from voting. Its two members did not not vote.

�The Prime Minister promised us yesterday that an all-party conference would be convened today. But they never told us.

�It appears Brinda Karat and CPI(M) have been taken into confidence. I am upset. Lalu and we are government allies. We don�t want to bulldoze democratic process,� Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee told reporters.

The Trinamool Congress is also said to be making calculations about the impact the bill will have on minorities in view of the Assembly elections in West Bengal due next year.

In an unprecedented action for the House of elders, seven MPs belonging to SP and RJD and an expelled JD(U) member were suspended for the rest of the Budget session for their unruly behaviour with the Chair yesterday.

They were physically evicted by marshals after they squatted on the floor of the House for a couple of hours refusing to leave the House.

A discussion on the Bill, which the BJP and the Left parties had insisted for giving their support, was possible only after the eviction of the suspended MPs and the walk out by colleagues from their parties.

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Women�s Reservation Bill passed in RS

NEW DELHI, March 9 � History was created in the Rajya Sabha today when it voted by an overwhelming majority a Bill to reserve one-third of seats in Lok Sabha and Assemblies for women after government pushed ahead with it, ignoring possible threats to its stability and after eviction of troublesome MPs opposed to it, reports PTI.

14 years after the first attempt was made in the Lok Sabha and repeated failures subsequently, the Constitution amendment bill was adopted in the mandatory division with 186 members voting for it and one voting against.

In the 245-member House with an effective strength of 233, the bill required the backing of at least 155 members and the UPA had the clear support of 165 in the run up to the event.

The bill seeks to reserve for women 181 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha and 1,370 out of a total of 4,109 seats in the 28 State Assemblies.

Ruling UPA constituent Trinamool Congress, which has two members, kept away from voting, while 15-member BSP, which has opposed the bill in its present form, walked out before voting.

JD(U), whose president Sharad Yadav is a staunch opponent of the bill, appears to have backed the bill fully with most of its 7 members voting for it in response to the call by one of its senior leaders and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who intervened in the discussion, described the occasion as a �momentous� and the legislation as a �historic and great� step in the empowerment of women.

�It is not not an anti-minority or anti-SC or ST bill. But it only carries forward the emancipation of women,� he said in his brief speech allaying apprehensions of opponents like SP and RJD that the bill was aimed against Muslim, OBC and dalit women.

Last-ditch efforts by opponents of the bill, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who have threatened to withdraw support, and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, failed to persuade Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi from not not going ahead with the legislation in its present form.

The bill had the backing of all the UPA constituents, minus Trinamool Congress, the BJP, the Left parties and a number of small parties like the AIADMK and TDP.

The measure will now now go to Lok Sabha where also the ruling UPA has the numbers to get it passed with support from BJP, Left and other small parties backing it, notwithstanding opposition from SP, RJD and a divided JD(U).

Gandhi expressed confidence that the government�s stability was not not under threat over passage of the bill.

Apparently peeved over the importance given to Left parties by the government in getting the bill passed, Trinamool Congress, the largest constituent of the UPA after the Congress, kept away from voting. Its two members did not not vote.

�The Prime Minister promised us yesterday that an all-party conference would be convened today. But they never told us.

�It appears Brinda Karat and CPI(M) have been taken into confidence. I am upset. Lalu and we are government allies. We don�t want to bulldoze democratic process,� Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee told reporters.

The Trinamool Congress is also said to be making calculations about the impact the bill will have on minorities in view of the Assembly elections in West Bengal due next year.

In an unprecedented action for the House of elders, seven MPs belonging to SP and RJD and an expelled JD(U) member were suspended for the rest of the Budget session for their unruly behaviour with the Chair yesterday.

They were physically evicted by marshals after they squatted on the floor of the House for a couple of hours refusing to leave the House.

A discussion on the Bill, which the BJP and the Left parties had insisted for giving their support, was possible only after the eviction of the suspended MPs and the walk out by colleagues from their parties.