Women's Reservation Bill and its saga of dramas and disruptions in Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi, March 9 (ANI): Even as the Rajya Sabha passed the long-pending Women's Reservation Bill on Tuesday evening with support of 186 votes, the Bill had its share of dramas, disruptions and arrival of marshals in the august House over the last two days.

On Monday, the Rajya Sabha witnessed unprecedented scenes leading to an adjournment for the fourth time as adamant Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party members entering the Well of the House, ripping off mikes and tearing apart papers to stall the Women's Reservation Bill from being taken up for consideration.

When repeated appeals of the Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari failed to bring order in the House, he called for adjournment till 4 PM.

However, despite the ruckus and unruly scenes Union law Minister Veerappa Moily succeeded in tabling the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill.

On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, and JD (U) president Sharad Yadav to convince them and seek their cooperation for the Bill but the attempt didn't yield any amicable result.

Later in the afternoon, Trinamool Congress played truant in UPA's need of the hour. Ahead of its turn to vote on the significant Women's Reservation Bill on Tuesday evening, the United rogressive Alliance partner Trinamool Congress decided to abstain during voting on the Women's Reservation Bill.

Countering Trinamool's allegation, the Congress party said the TMC was consulted and its chief Ms. Mamata Banerjee had been informed about the strategy for Tuesday in Rajya Sabha.

Criticising the Government's action of using marshals in the Parliament to evict protesting members of parliament, Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi said the use of marshals has set a wrong precedent and it shows force can be used in local Assemblies.

TMC said that Government couldn't bulldoze the Bill through Parliament like this.

In counter allegation, saying Mamata was well aware of the Govt.'s plans, Congress spokesperson Rajiv Shukla today said that any differences with the TMC could be sorted out. If Ms. Mamata has a problem, the Government will consult it with her.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, at this juncture, expressed its skepticism over actual passage of the Bill.

"The Bill was supposed to be passed on the women's day, Sonia Gandhi has announced that but there is a difference between her announcement and actual implementation. The government has the requisite support of the parties to pass the bill," said senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde.

Earlier, Bahujan Samaj Party decided to abstain alleging that: "Our party believed that the Government will take into consideration its concerns about the other backward class women before putting the Bill to vote but as it has not done so, hence we abstain ourselves from voting."

Ahead of the voting, around 50 marshals were called in to evict the errant MPs from the House and bring order. All the seven suspended MPs for their Monday's conduct had been asked to leave the House.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Opposition, however, protested in the House for the Congress Government held no discussions over the Bill despite former' s demand.

Senior BJP leader and the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said, "Debate over the Women's Reservation Bill is important in the House."

Meanwhile, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha ahead of the crucial voting for the Bill in the evening, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh described the Women's Reservation Bill as "a momentous development" and a step forward towards emancipation of the women.

"It's a momentous development. The Bill going to be passed here is a step forward. Women play an important role in the nation building. The Bill is set to empower women," said Prime Minister Dr. Singh just ahead of the Bill being put to vote in the Rajya Sabha.

Clarifying the concerns of a section of political parties about the Women's Reservation Bill ignoring the women of the minority groups or the other backward classes, the PM said: "It is not an anti minority, anti-OBC bill, it carries forward the emancipation of women."

Dr Singh, however, also apologized to Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari for the disruption of the House as witnessed by all on Monday. "I owe the Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari a profound apology for what happened yesterday," said the Prime Minister.

Finally, in a historic moment, the long-awaited Women's Reservation Bill was passed finally on Tuesday evening in the Rajya Sabha, the upper House of the Parliament, with 186 being in favour of the Bill and just one voting against it.

The Rajya Sabha Chairman said: "The Bill stands passed by required majority." And, the entire House hailed its passage by thumping of the desks. (ANI)

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