Reject the Women’s Reservation Bill without Special Quotas for the under-privileged classes

Press Statement: Bangalore / 5 March 2010
Friday, March 5th, 2010

Popular Front of India chairman E. M. Abdul Rahiman has called upon all members of the parliament belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Backward castes and religious minorities, irrespective of party affiliations, to come out with an open position against the Women’s Reservation Bill in its present form as approved by the Union Cabinet.

The Women’s Reservation Bill is likely to be presented in the Rajya Sabha on March 8, 2010 in its original form without including the suggestion from politically deprived communities to have sub-quotas for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, backward communities, and religious minorities. It is not surprising that the leaders of major parties such as Congress, BJP and CPI (M) are against giving separate quota for marginalized sections within the 33% reservation to women in Lokh Sabha and State Assemblies. Till today the Parliament and most of the State Assemblies witnessed an over-representation of upper castes and in states like West Bengal graph of the upper caste dominance in State Assembly was continuously upward. The Muslim representation in Parliament has been always around half of its proportionate population share. The number of Muslim MPs in the present Lokh Sabha is only 30, a fall from its strength of 36 in the last term. There must be about 80 Muslim MPs if the representation in proportion to the 15% population of the community has to be ensured. No political party has shown serious concern about this issue of minority right. It is evident that reservation of one third seats to women will further increase the caste and community imbalance in the Parliament and State Assemblies, because of the relative backwardness of women among Dalits, Muslims and Backward castes.

Popular Front chairman has welcomed the principled stand expressed by RJD, SP and BSP against presenting the Bill in its original form. The position reportedly taken by CPI (M) that the Bill has to be passed without discussion amounts to ridiculing the very purpose of the Legislature , which is to discuss any issue before decision making. The threat of party whip from some other parties is also to put pressure on the Dalit, backward class and Muslim MPs to betray the interest of their own communities.

E. M. Abdul Rahiman demanded the Central Government to re-draft the Women’s Reservation Bill by separately earmarking half of the women reservation seats to SCs, STs, Backward Castes and Minorities before presenting it in the Parliament.

Media Secretary

Popular Front Headquarters

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