PM meets Congress leaders, discusses floor strategy for Women's Bill passage

Posted By: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar.8 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, is attending a Congress party meeting to formulate the floor strategy for ensuring the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill, which has been held up for more than a decade.

The meeting is taking place at Congress president Sonia Gandhi's 10, Janpath residence. The Prime Minister is consulting with Leader of the House and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel and Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal.

The strategy is likely to see the light of day after the Rajya Sabha convenes for another session from 2 p.m.

The meeting is taking place after the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) announced that they were withdrawing outside support to the UPA Government over its determination to table the Bill.

Both parties have described the Bill as discriminatory, and not supportive of women who belong to the minorities, the Dalits and the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Leaders of the two parties - Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav- said they have instructed their 27 MPs - 23 from the SP and four from the RJD- to quit.

Protesters outside the Parliament said that the Bill requires key amendments.

Earlier, both parties disrupted Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha over the non-implementation of the Mr. Justice Ranganath Misra Commission Report on minority welfare, leading to an adjournment of the House.

Soon after the Chairman of the Upper House, Mohammad Hamid Ansari read out a message on International Women's Day, SP and RJD members demanded a discussion on why the commission's report recommending reservation to minorities, was not being implemented.

Ansari said they could raise the issue during Zero Hour and pleaded with them to allow Question Hour to proceed.

SP and RJD members, however, continued to shout slogans seeking implementation of the report. They then moved towards the Well of the House forcing Ansari to adjourn the house. (ANI)

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