Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised 'historic decisions' in the new Parliament session, earlier on Monday. File photo

Cabinet clears Women's Reservation Bill

"Only the Modi government had the moral courage to fulfil the demand for women's reservation," tweets Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel

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The Women’s Reservation Bill, which seeks to ensure reservation of 33 per cent seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies, was cleared by the Union cabinet on Monday (September 18), said sources. The Cabinet meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While the Union government is yet to formally announce the decision and there has been no statement after the Cabinet meeting, Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel confirmed the decision on Twitter. "Only the Modi government had the moral courage to fulfil the demand for women's reservation. Which was proved by the approval of the cabinet. Congratulations PM Narendra Modi and congratulations to the PM Modi government," he tweeted.

Earlier in the day, Modi had said “historic decisions” would be taken in the Special Session of Parliament, which commenced today.

While very little has been revealed about the Bill yet, sources told The Federal it is likely to be implemented only for the 2029 polls.

‘Why the secrecy?’

Reacting to the news, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said the party welcomed the move, but criticised the ‘secrecy’ around it. In a tweet, he also recalled that the Congress had been the one to moot the Bill and take actions towards it.

“It’s been a long-standing demand of the Congress party to implement women’s reservation. We welcome the reported decision of the Union Cabinet and await the details of the Bill,” he said in a post on Twitter (now X). “This could have very well been discussed in the all-party meeting before the Special Session, and consensus could have been built instead of operating under a veil of secrecy.”

The push for getting the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in the Lok Sabha during the special session had come over the weekend from the Congress party’s working committee meeting held in Hyderabad. Congress sources told The Federal that the party’s strident demand for getting the legislation passed in the special Parliament session was, in part, meant as a “pre-emptive strike” to foil an attempt by Modi and the BJP from walking away with full credit if the Centre, with its brute majority in the Lok Sabha, decides to have the contentious Bill passed in the Lok Sabha.

Original votary

The Congress was the original votary of the Women’s Reservation Bill. After several failed bids by the party’s successive governments helmed by Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narsimha Rao to have the Bill enacted by Parliament, the Congress-led UPA government had succeeded in getting the legislation passed by Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2010. However, resistance to the Bill from parties such as the RJD, SP, JD (U) and others had prevented the Manmohan Singh-led coalition from having the legislation passed in the Lok Sabha. This is because the Congress, on its own, lacked a majority in the Lower House and some of its like-minded allies refused to cooperate.

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