8 Mar : The Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Samajwadi Party on Monday withdrew support to the UPA government on the Women Reservation Bill and asserted that they would not allow the Bill to be passed in Parliament.
SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following their decision to withdraw support to the government on the women’s bill issue.
Both the leaders are understood to have said that they would stick to the decision on withdrawing support to the government if no changes are made in the women’s bill.
RJD President Lalu Prasad told mediapersons in New Delhi that the Bill was against poor and downtrodden women and under no condition his party would allow the passage of the legislation.
”We are dead against the Bill in its present form,” Prasad said adding that his party, which was extending outside support to the UPA government, was withdrawing its support.
Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh said the Bill was totally against poor people of the country and so his party would oppose the legislation both inside and outside Parliament.
He charged both the Congress and the BJP with being anti-poor, against minorities and downtrodden and said, ”We are no longer inclined to extend support to the UPA government which has let down the minorities and downtrodden on the Women’s reservation bill.”
Even if both SP and RJD formally withdraw support by giving letters to the President, the effective strength of UPA and its outside supporters would be around 290, well beyond the 272 mark for a simple majority.
While the UPA parties have a strength of 208 (Congress), 19 (Trinamool Congress), 18 (DMK), 9 (NCP) 3 (National Conference) which makes it 257.
However, with outside supporters like BSP (21), Muslim League (2), Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (1), JDS (3) its strength goes upto 284 in the Lok Sabha. It also enjoys the support of some independents in the Lower House taking the total to around 290. The Lok Sabha has a strength of 543.
Mulayam Singh Yadav said that both Congress and the BJP have been against Muslim, backward and dalit women and don’t want to give reservation to them.
“They do not want women from these sections to come forward…This has been proved now. They want to perpetuate their rule…” Yadav said.
Prasad said that from the beginning SP, BSP, RJD and Sharad Yadav have made it clear that they are not anti-women and against reservation to them.
“We want reservation also for the women who work in fields, work under the NREGA scheme, backward, dalits and the Muslims,” Prasad said.
“By not giving them reservation you are neglecting a large section of women in rural India,” Lalu said.
Senior RJD leader P C Gupta said that the party would formally send the letter of withdrawal of support to the President if the Bill was passed in the present form.
Prasad said, “The bill is against Dalits and Muslims and this will not be tolerated.We will exercise our democratic rights and oppose it.”
Terming the Congress and BJP as anti-women, Lalu asked how many women were given tickets in Congress and BJP. “Both the parties are against Dalits and Muslims.”
On Nitish Kumar supporting the Bill, Prasad said earlier Nitish was supporting the quota within quota proposal but now he has turned against it. “Anyway it was JD(U)’s party affair”.
Lalu also condemned the Left for supporting the Bill.
“What the Left doing now is not a right thing,” he said.
When told that the government has numerical strength to pass the Bill, Lalu said we will exercise our democratic right to oppose it.”
Both Lalu and Mulayam maintained that they are ready to face any consequences for opposing the Bill.”We are ready to lose whatever… even our membership in the House but we will oppose the Bill as it is against social justice,” they said.