New Delhi, July 17: Letter war between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress continues as in response to the letter written by Congress president Rahul Gandhi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prashad responded that the government is in agreement with the Congress president for Women Reservation Bill but in the same breath sought support of the Congress on triple talaq and nikah halala.
Prashad writes to the Congress president, "The Women Reservation Bill was originally proposed by the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee but could not be passed for want of consensus in Parliament. It was reintroduced during the UPA II in Rajya Sabha. The NDA stood firm support of the Bill and had passed in the Rajya Sabha. For reason best known to the government of that day, no efforts was made to have the bill passed in the Lok Sabha. The Bill lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha." He asked, "...why the Bill was not taken up for three years by the UPA government in the Lok Sabha and allowed to lapse."
The Union minister said, "As part of the new deal, we should approve in both houses of Parliament the Women Reservation Bill, the law prohibiting triple talaq and imposing penal consequences on those who violate the law and the law prohibiting nikah halala. You will appreciate that the latter two not only give the women of the Muslim community an unequal treatment but also seriously compromise their dignity."
Prashad writes, "Since you have shown your deep concern for the support of Women Reservation Bill in Parliament and state Assemblies to deal with challenges of their inadequate representation in these bodies, I propose that both the national parties - the BJP and the Congress - should come together and offer a new deal to Indian women to ensure equality and adequate representation."
He said, "As a national party, we cannot have two sets of standers in dealing with women and their rights. We are already too late in conferring the right of adequate representation, equality in personal laws and doing away with such provisions which compromise with women's dignity. Another bill of significant social importance is granting of constitutional status to the national commission on Backward Classes. It also deserves your party's unqualified support for assured passage. The government would be eagerly awaiting your response."