Despite deadlock, Patil hopeful about passage of Women's Reservation Bill

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On Board Air India One, May 26 (ANI): Despite the deadlock in the Lok Sabha over the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil has said that she is hopeful about its passage.

Speaking to reporters enroute to Beijing on Wednesday, Patil said: "I wish that the Women's Reservation Bill is passed in the Lok Sabha."

Now, it is to be seen how the UPA Government, which has still four years in power, manages the requisite support for the passage of the Bill," she added.

The Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha with help of marshals who prevented some members of the opposition from disturbing the process.

Parliamentarians of the ruling party and the opposition, however, have said that they are against its forceful passage.

It has been more than a decade since the Bill was first introduce in Parliament (1996-97).

Last month, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presided over an all-party meeting to discuss the Bill, but failed to reach or arrive at a consensus on it.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav proved to be the main opponents of the Bill in its present form.

Lalu Prasad has demanded a quota for Muslim and Dalit women, and women of other backward castes.

At that time Lalu said he was grateful to the government for calling an all-party meeting on the issue, but reiterated his commitment to have Muslim, backward and Dalit women included in the ambit of the Bill

"Our stand has not changed," Lalu said then

After the meetiing, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said the Bill would look after the interests of the minorities.

Janata Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav also demanded a quota within a quota.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has supported the bill.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is demanding that the Bill be passed in its present form.

The Rajya Sabha had last month passed a Constitution Amendment Bill that provides for 33 per cent reservation of women in Parliament and state assemblies.

President Patil is visiting China from May 26-31 and will hold discussions with the Chinese leadership.

Commenting on her visit, which coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and China, President Patil said her visit is part of the process of high-level contacts between the two countries.

President Patil said that Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to India in 2006 had generated a great deal of goodwill between the two countries, and added, that during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to China in 2008, the two countries concluded a "Shared Vision for the 21st Century" which forms the basis for bilateral cooperation on global issues.

She also said that India and China are two large and populous countries and both of them are focussed on enhancing economic growth and social progress, so there are many areas in which the two countries can exchange views and learn from each other's experiences. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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