Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider passing the Women’s Reservation Bill, before the 2024 general (Lok Sabha) elections.
Pointing out that the government led by Modi enjoys a majority in Parliament and may be successful in passing it, the JD(S) patriarch in his letter to the Prime Minister said, to accord one third reservation to women in legislative assemblies and parliament is an idea whose time has come.
“When the Election Commission announced polls in Karnataka recently, and released the number of eligible women voters in the State, it was not a surprise that they were nearly fifty per cent of the total electorate. The statistics are not different in other states of India. This made me revisit the idea of reservations for women in legislative assemblies and parliament,” Gowda said.
In a letter dated April 10 which was released on Saturday, he highlighted that as Prime Minister he had brought the Women’s Reservation Bill to Parliament in 1996, but was unsuccessful in seeing it through. The attempts that were made later in 2008 by the UPA government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not reach a logical conclusion either.
Both times when an attempt was made to pass the Bill, governments did not have a majority and were dependent on their coalition partners, Gowda said. “In your (Modi) case, you are lucky to have a majority in parliament and may be successful in passing it,” he said.
“Therefore, I urge you to consider passing the Women’s Reservation Bill before the 2024 general elections. Suitable modifications can be made to the drafts of the Bill presented in 1996 and 2008. To adhere to the principles of social justice will be key to the success of this great move for gender justice,” he said.
To accord one third reservation to women in legislative assemblies and parliament is an idea whose time has come, he further said adding that, “It will be a symbolic gesture to bring in this Bill, and pass it, as we transition into a new and very modern Parliament building. Our mothers and sisters deserve better from us.”
The former Prime Minister also asserted that considering the Women’s Reservation Bill when India holds the G20 leadership will send a positive signal to the world. “It will tell the world that we are serious about our democracy and wish to deepen it.