CPM ready to join hands with Cong, BJP on women's quota

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Kozhikode, Oct 20 (UNI) The Communist Party of India (Marxist) was prepared to join hands with any political party to enact the controversial Women's Reservaton Bill providing 33 per cent quota for women in elected bodies, including Parliament, polit bureau member and Kerala Home Minister K Balakrishnan said today.

Inaugurating a seminar ''Relevance and Importance of Reservation for Women,'' organised by All India Lawyers Union State Vanitha Sub-committee here, he said, ''We are prepared to cooperate with the major national political parties, including the Congress and the BJP'' for enacting the Bill pending for the last 12 years, in the current session of Parliment.

A decision to this effect was taken at the 19th Congress of the CPI (M) concluded in Coimbatore in April this year, he added.

The meet which had accorded utmost priority to the issue, had entrusted it with the party itself instead of its women's wing All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) to liaise with other political parties.

Quoting statics, he said the current Lok Sabha accounted for only 45 women members out of the total 542 lawmakers, with a mere eight per cent representation in the House, he said.

The picture was not much different in the state Assemblies which altogether accounted for 16 per cent representation of women members after the 2004 assembly poll, he said.

Stating that involvement of women in decision making by providing them a chance to participate in governance was the only way to their empowerment, Mr Balakrishnan said his party was always in the forefront for enacting the Bill but could not succeed due to stiff opposition from certain quarters.

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