Monday, October 9, 2000,
 Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Uma raises banner of revolt
Women’s Reservation Bill
Tribune News Service and agencies

NEW DELHI, Oct 8 — The irrepressible BJP MP, Ms Uma Bharati, was at it today again as she threatened to break the party discipline if the women belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) were not given their due in the Women’s Reservation Bill.

The BJP MP, who in the past has also given a few embarrassing moments to the party leadership by her actions, told the media here, “I want that women belonging to the OBCs be also given their due share in the Women’s Reservation Bill and I should be allowed to move the necessary amendment in Parliament.”

Ms Bharati, who returned to the Capital after spending 41 days in Kedarnath shrine said that she had conveyed her feelings to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, yesterday. She had met him for 40 minutes at his residence. She also put her viewpoint across to the Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, this morning.

“People’s interest is my priority and if I have to break discipline in the party, I would do so,” she said.

Ms Bharati said the Prime Minister had told her that he would put forward her suggestion to the party soon after his knee operation.

“I told the Prime Minister that if I am not allowed to move this amendment, I will not attend Parliament. The ball is now in his court,” she said.

Ms Bharati seemed adamant on moving the amendment in Parliament and also suggested that the BJP should change its stand on the issue. “I would like to move an amendment on behalf of my party and it is time the party changed its stand on this issue and allowed me to move the amendment. Prime Minister told me he would give his response after placing this view at the Parliamentary party,” Ms Bharati said.

She said the reservation Bill had been introduced by three Prime Ministers — Mr Deve Gowda, Mr I.K. Gujral and Mr Vajpayee — but it had never come up for discussion in Parliament.

“I told the Prime Minister that even though the BJP-led government had introduced the Bill, it was always done towards the end of the session, thus raising doubts in the minds of the people about the government’s sincerity on this legislation,” she said.

She said the BJP, Congress and Communists had the same views on this legislation in that they wanted a Bill in Parliament though the election commission had suggested that political parties make reservation in their party fora.

She challenged any political party to oppose reservation for women belonging to the OBCs, saying “Let them do so and come out and face the electorate.”

The 41-year-old sanyasin-turned-politician said she had sought Central assistance for the development of her Lok Sabha constituency, Bhopal, as also her previous constituency, Khajuraho.

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