Not possible to implement women's reservation immediately: BJP

08:48PM Thu 21 Sep, 2023

The BJP today said it was impossible to implement women's reservation in time for the upcoming election and promised to implement it for the 2029 election.

"If you pass this bill today, I can promise you that there will be MPs from women's reservation quota in this house in 2029," JP Nadda said. 

Nadda said there are some legal obstacles to implementing women's reservation before the next general election, due in April-May next year, including the absence of demographic data.

Typically, reservation is given to a group or community based on their relative strength within the populatiion. For example, reservation is given to scheduled caste members at the rate of 15% in central government recruitments based on census data that their presence in the overall population is around that figuire.

Hence, before any reservation is given, it is important to have demographic data, Nadda pointed out.

"A census has to be conducted. There also has to be a public hearing via the quasi-judicial body, seats have to be selected, the number [of seats] has to be decided, and after all this, it has to be taken forward."

He pointed out that the government of the day cannot decide which seats will be reserved for women and which will be in general category.

"Who will decide this? This cannot be decided by the ruling front. It has to be done by a quasi-judicial body. We have to nominate [such a body]. If not, then what stops me from reserving [Rahul Gandhi's constitutency] Wayanad for women? What if I reserve Amethi," he asked.

Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of opposition for Rajya Sabha, however, took issue with Nadda's stand and said there was no impediment to implementing the reservation in time for the next election.

"If women can be given reservation at Panchayat level and Zila Panchayat levels [without a census to find out their number], why can't we implement it for parliamentary elections," he asked, repeating the allegation that BJP was only trying to pass the bill before the election to get votes from women voters next year.

However, Nadda refuted the allegation that BJP was simply trying to take political dividends by passing the bill, without actually providing the reservation for several years.

"If all we wanted was to take political advantage, then we would have implemented it with immediate effect. What cannot be done [cannot be done]. This is the shortest way," he said.

He also alleged the opposition parties are clamouring for immediate implementation of the reservation because they don't know 'how to rule'.

"If you knew how to rule, you would not be sitting on that side," he said, pointing to the opposition benches.

He said Modi only did things in a concrete fashion, not in a trivial fashion, and that is why it will take till 2029 to implement the reservation.

"We are empowering women in a concrete fashion," he claimed.