Women's Reservation Bill: Sparks fly during House debate as Opposition pushes for OBC quota : The Tribune India

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Women's Reservation Bill: Sparks fly during House debate as Opposition pushes for OBC quota

Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, September 20

Sparks flew during the day-long debate on women’s quota Bill in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday with Union Home Minister Amit Shah facing off with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who questioned why only three out of 90 secretaries to the Government of India were from the backward community.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi speaks in the Lok Sabha. PTI

SAD questions delay in implementation

The Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday joined opposition ranks to question the government over secrecy and potential delay in the implementation of the Bill provisions until the first census exercise following a delimitation is conducted. "It is like showing women 'ladoos' which they cannot have," SAD Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal said. TNS

“This is why you must count the castes. Out of 90 union secretaries, only three are backward and they control only 5 per cent of India’s budget,” the Wayanad MP said during the debate. Speaking after him, Shah wondered what made Rahul think the country was run by secretaries to the government.

“As far as I know, the country is run by decisions taken by the Union Cabinet, the government and Parliament,” said Shah, dishing out data on OBC empowerment under PM Narendra Modi. He said 29 per cent of BJP MPs, 335 of the 1,358 BJP MLAs and 40 per cent of the BJP MLCs were OBCs.

“NGOs write papers for you and you read chits. That is fine. But let me tell you, the BJP is the party which gave an OBC prime minister,” Shah said while intervening in the debate on the Bill. Earlier today, opposition MPs questioned the BJP for fielding Godda MP Nishikant Dubey as the first speaker on the Bill, promoting Shah to ask: “Why? Can’t men speak for women?”

Dubey took the occasion to hit out at the INDIA bloc recalling a 2013 instance involving Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. “Sonia Gandhi grabbed SP’s Yashvir Singh by the collar in the Lok Sabha during a 2013 debate on a Bill about reservation in promotions. I intervened and told her she is not a dictator or a queen and could not thrash people like that…At that time, Mulayam Singh Yadav said their MP would not have been alive but for the BJP and today the SP is sitting with Congress in the INDI alliance,” Dubey said, recalling an instance where Yashvir Singh had snatched a Bill from then minister V Narayanasamy’s hands prompting Sonia to intervene.

The Lok Sabha witnessed its share of sparks later in the evening again when Rahul questioned the government for the absence of President Droupadi Murmu during the process of transition to the new Parliament. “This is a nice building, nice peacocks…but I would have liked to see the President in this process. She is a woman, represents tribal community. It would have been befitting to have her visible in the transfer,” Rahul said. In rebuttal, Union Law Minister Arjun Meghwal brought up BR Ambedkar’s defeat at the hands of the Congress twice. Meghwal also told Rahul that a secretary to the government would have entered IAS in 1992 when the Congress government was in power. “You are cursing your own government,” Meghwal told Rahul on latter’s secretary comment.

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#Amit Shah #Congress #Lok Sabha #Rahul Gandhi

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