Female lawmakers in Rajya Sabha, cutting across party lines, have asked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre to use its brute majority in Lok Sabha to ensure passage of a legislation providing 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament and state legislatures.
The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, commonly known as the Women's Reservation Bill, was passed by Rajya Sabha in 2010, but is awaiting nod of Lok Sabha.
Women members spoke in favour of the legislation after Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu allowed short submissions. He converted notices from some members for a discussions into matters that could be raised during the Friday Zero Hour.
Samajwadi Party lawmaker Jaya Bachchan said her party is not against the Bill but wants sub-reservation to be provided for dalits.
She said political parties should be given the right to choose the seats or constituencies from where they wish to field 33 per cent of women.
"There are unnecessary rumours that our party is against the Bill. We are not against the women's reservation bill. We are for the reservation bill but we have certain recommendations," she said, adding the "Bill is cosmetic in its present form."
CPM leader Jharna Das Baidyasaid the BJP has absolute majority in Lok Sabha but has not got the women's reservation bill passed.
TDP leader V Thota Seetharama Lakshmi said her party supports the legislation and appealed to the government to ensure its passage in the lower house.
TMC leader Shanta Chhetri said her party gave one-third of tickets to women in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and West Bengal has already provided 50 per cent reservation to women in local bodies.
AIADMK lawmaker Vijila Sathyananth urged the government to bring the bill and ensure its passage it in Lok Sabha. "You have enormous majority" to pass the legislation, she said.
DMK's Kanimozhi said the Right, Left and Centre are supporting the bill, yet it has not been passed in Lok Sabha for nine years.
"It is very sad that women have to put up with decisions made by men throughout their lives. Even here men are making decision for women," she said, asking the government to bring the women's reservation bill in Lok Sabha.
Congress member Viplove Thakur said there cannot be women empowerment until they become decision-makers.
She said the ruling BJP had promised reservation for women in Parliament and now the Lok Sabha should pass the bill.