M A I N   N E W S

BJP MPs revolt against Women’s Bill
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 11
A near revolt has broken out on the issue of Women’s Reservation Bill in the BJP. To douse this fire, BJP parliamentary party chairman LK Advani invited 116 Lok Sabha MPs to his residence to placate them and make them come round to the party view.

At the meeting, which lasted over an hour, Advani and Sushma Swaraj managed to explain to the members the importance of this Bill and the compulsion of the BJP to support it. A source said Advani and Suhsma said: “This is 14-year-old commitment of the BJP and there is no way we can back out from it under any circumstances. If we back out now, we will only be discredited in the public eye.”

But insiders also said a large number of MPs kept pressing for removing the whip to enable them to vote as per their conscience.

The member also blamed party leadership for going out of its way to help the Congress government in seeing the Women’s Bill through in the Rajya Sabha.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj admitted a general sense of unhappiness among some members adding that while some MPs may have personal reservations, eventually all will fall in line and will obey the party whip. She also mentioned a number of Congress MPs “approaching us to do something.”

BJP chief whip Ramesh Bais named two: Sandeep Dikshit, East Delhi Congress MP and the son of Delhi chief minister Shiela Dikshit, and Congress whip Paban Singh Ghatowar who approached him. Sushma added that these MPs have been going to different leaders including the Yadav trio, Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Sharad Yadav, to somehow scuttle this piece of legislation.

Notwithstanding these denials, at least two BJP MPs Hukumdeo Narain Yadav and Yogi Adityanath have opposed the Bill.

Adityanath, while asking the party to remove the whip, also declared his intent to defy the whip on this issue.

BJP MPs have also taken offence to the summoning of marshals to physically remove the seven protesting MPs in the Rajya Sabha and attacked their leadership for acquiescing in to the action. This morning Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely unilaterally apologised on behalf of the entire Opposition to create conditions for the return of suspended members and later Sushma also said, “We don’t want marshals in the Lok Sabha, we didn’t like it in the Rajya Sabha either.”



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