Congress rejects BJP offer on Women's Bill

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) The Congress, which is heading the ruling coalition at the Centre, today rejected the offer of support from the Opposition BJP to the Women's Reservation Bill, making it clear that the legislation would not be passed in Parliament in the budget session.

"The BJP or the NDA is not committed to the bill seeking to provide for 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament and state assemblies," AICC Spokesman Manish Tewari told mediapersons, rejecting the offer made by BJP prime ministerial candidate L K Advani at a "BJP Mahila Morcha" rally here yesterday.

Saying that the Congress Party was committed to empowering the women through the reservation process, he pointed out that the party was trying to evolve a consensus, both within the ruling coalition and within a broader political spectrum.

In this context, he accused the BJP of having not made any serious attempts to see the bill through in Parliament.

"Had they (BJP) been committed to 33 per cent women's reservation, they could have attempted to get the bill passed when they were in power for six years." When a reporter pointed out that the bill could not be passed now due to opposition from among parties forming part of the ruling coalition itself, Mr Tewari said, "We are trying to evolve a consensus because we don't want it to be done in a divisive atmosphere." "We are optimistic and will keep striving for it," he said, in a clear indication that the Congress Party would not accept the BJP offer.


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