Uma Bharti demands OBC reservation in Women Bill

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New Delhi, Apr 23 (UNI) Renewing her demand for special provision for reservation for OBC and ST women in the Women's Reservation Bill, Bharatiya Jana Shakti president Uma Bharti today asserted that the Government must bring the legislation in Parliament in the current session itself without any further delay.

Talking to newspersons, Ms Bharti said that the Women Reservation Bill, providing 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies, had already been delayed for more than a decade--originally introduced in 1997 during the Deve Gowda Government-- and the Government must not delay it any further.

She also said she was making this demand as the government did not seem to be inclined to introduce this Bill in this session also.

Ms Bharti, who formed her own party after she was sacked by the BJP for ''anti-party activities'' in 2006, said that in the next two days, during her stay in the Capital, she would be meeting leaders of various political parties to secure that whenever the Bill was introduced, it had provisions for giving reservation within reservation for OBC and ST women. "I have already met Shri Sharad Yadavji, I will be meeting leaders like Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde (Congress), Mr Ramvilas Paswan, Mr Mulayam Singh (Samajwadi), Mr Lalu Prasad (RJD) and Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra (BJP) to impress upon them to pressurise the Government to introduce the legislation in Parliament and ensure that it must contain the clause to provide for reservation to the OBC women.

In reply to a question why she was not talking to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, she said she had no hesitation to meet her. ''But there would be a problem for her to understand the problems of the OBC women. Mr Shinde who himself was a backward class leader, would convey the matter to Soniaji.'' Similarly, she said she had no reservation to meet Leader of the Opposition L K Advani on the issue if he had no reservation to meet her. To a specific question, she replied that she was not meeting senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj as she was opposed to reservation within reservation and was very angry when she (Uma Bharti) made this demand the during discussion in Parliament and sought an amendment to the legislation, following which it was referred to the Standing Committee.

Ms Bharti alleged that in fact neither the Congress, nor BJP nor the Left Parties were interested that the Women Reservation Bill should have a special clause to provide reservation to the OBC and ST women.

She said she had written letters to leaders of various parties in which she, while seeking their support, she had pointed out that the OBC-ST women account for 70 per cent of the weaker sections. Yet these three political grouping--the Congress, BJP and the Left Parties-- were not doing justice to them by opposing inclusion of special provision in the Women Reservation Bill.

"I am not a Member of Parliament now. But I appeal to you to ensure that this Bill is put up before Parliament. I hope you will take the matter seriously," she said in the letter.

UNI KAS SBC AS1934

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