The city unit of the Congress has accused the BJP government at the Centre of being not sincere about giving reservation to women. Mumbai Congress president Varsha Gaikwad said the recent approval of the Women’s Reservation Bill, commonly referred to as the ‘Naari Shakti Vandan Bill,’ does not mean that the benefit will be granted immediately.
Gaikwad noted that the bill’s implementation is contingent upon a lengthy delimitation process which can take up to five years. Hence, the bill is unlikely to become effective until 2029.
'Should have endorsed the bill in Lok Sabha'
Gaikwad noted that the Women’s Reservation Bill was initially passed in the Upper House of Parliament by the UPA government in 2010 because of the efforts of then-prime minister Manmohan Singh. She contended that if the BJP government was "genuinely committed to providing women with reservations in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies, they should have endorsed the same bill in the Lok Sabha."
The newly introduced bill includes several conditions that must be met, all of which will take time to fulfill. The most crucial prerequisite is the completion of the census and delimitation process. Although India was originally scheduled to conduct the census in 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic caused significant delays, and the process has yet to commence. Gaikwad argued that this process will take more than five years, making it impossible to establish women’s reservation before 2029.
"This newly introduced bill is a grave injustice to women nationwide, reflecting a lack of genuine commitment to securing women’s rightful rights and merely a political ploy in the run-up to the elections," Gaikwad added.