New Delhi, May 6 (UNI) The introduction of the long-awaited Women's Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha today amid protests by Samajwadi Party members split the country's polity along vertical lines with the BJP daring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure the legislation was passed before 2009 polls.
The Congress said introduction of the Bill marked fulfilment of one of its major promises given to the electorate during the last elections and highlighted the party's commitment to empowering women.
''It was a proud moment for all of us in the UPA,'' AICC spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told mediapersons, while underlining the ''unflinching'' commitment of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the sincerity of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The CPI said it would be construed as a ''mere stunt'' if the Congress could not prove its credentials by getting it passed by a special session of Parliament next month while the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) said the Bill in its present form was against the principle of equal opportunity and the BSP demanded seats for SCs within 33 pc quota for the fairer sex.
The BJP criticised the manner in which the long-awaited Women Reservation Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha amid pandemonium.
It urged the Prime Minister to ensure that the Bill was adopted in the next session of Parliament to enable women enjoy its benefits in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
Assuring all support on behalf of her party to the Women Bill, BJP Deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj wrote a letter to the Prime Minister urging him that since the government had introduced the Bill in the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the budget session and referred it to the Standing Committee, he should ensure that it was passed well before the 2009 Parliamentary election.
She said, ''I have also pointed out to him that since the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) had already given its recommendations of the Bill earlier, there was no need that it be referred to the Standing Committee.'' The Prime Minister, however, rejected the idea.
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