Congress mulls how to get Women's Reservation Bill passed in Parliament

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New Delhi, June 9 : Senior Congress leaders, mostly women parliamentarians from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, today met at AICC headquarters under the chairmanship of Pranab Mukherjee to ponder over the Women's Reservation Bill which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha during the last Budget Session of the Parliament.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee chaired the meeting in his capacity as the Leader of Lok Sabha.

After the meeting, AICC spokesperson Jayanti Natrajan said that the meeting was organized to enable the party leaders to express their views on how the Bill could be passed in the Parliament.

"We stick to our earlier stand, which is also mentioned in the original Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha, over Women's Reservation Bill," she told mediapersons.

She added that now the Congress President Sonia Gandhi would write a letter to the Parliamentary Standing Committee which is already pondering over the Bill, mentioning the party's stance.

Soon after the meeting, Pranab headed to meet Sonia to apprise her about the developments at the meeting.

Besides Pranab, among those who were present at the meeting, included union ministers Ambika Soni, Kumari Selja, Panabaka Lakshmi, Lok Sabha MP Kirishna Tirath, Rajya Sabha MP and party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vlayar Ravi, and his deputy V Narayanasami.

Coming out of the meeting, Kumari Selja said that the meeting was held to give the women leaders of the Congress a platform to express their views as to how the Bill could be passed amicably in both the Houses of the Parliament. "This meeting assumed significance as it was the first time we were meeting after the Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha. The important thing to be noted is that intentionally the Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha, so that it didn't lapse at any later stage," she said.

President of party women's wing Prabha Thakur said that today's meeting was a step further to realize the dream of Rajiv Gandhi who first propounded the idea of extending 33 percent reservation to women from panchayati raj level to the parliament. She also said that the party's view of granting one-third reservation to the women was clear from the fact the Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha, so that it doesn't lapse, as in case when a Bill is introduced in the Lok Sabha. By Pankaj Yadav

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