Anil Shastri bats for quota within quota for Women

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New Delhi, Sep 6 (UNI) Senior Congress Leader Anil Shastri today favoured reservation to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) within the 33 per cent reservation proposed in the Women's Reservation Bill, and asked the government to get the bill passed in the next session of Parliament to empower women.

"It is imperative that we make all possible efforts so that the women reservation bill sees the light of the day even if it means giving reservation to the OBC among the women," said Mr Shastri, who is also a Special Invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

The Women's Reservation Bill, which seeks to give a 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament and the State Assemblies, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in the last session of Parliament. The bill was opposed by the political parties like the RJD and the Samajwadi Party who wanted OBC reservation within the 33 per cent quota proposed for women.

"We hope that the bill will see the light of the day during the coming Parliament session," he said, in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"I know that the RJD and some other parties are insisting on quota for OBC women in the bill and as such we are finding difficult to arrive at a consensus," he said, while pointing out that "the backward communities have been the deprived lot in our society for years together. If we have to improve their lot, one way is to politically empower them." In this context, Mr Shastri suggested that some percentage of OBC quota may be provided for in the Women's Reservation Bill.

"This will satisfy our allies and other parties who are opposing the bill only on this account. This is not going to harm us in any way and would rather go down in history as a great revolutionary step taken by the UPA government under your leadership," he said.

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