Women’s reservation: As Congress seeks to take credit, Amit Shah questions party’s ‘double standards’

“Congress has never been serious about women's reservation," says Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during a special session of the Parliament, in New Delhi | PTI Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during a special session of the Parliament, in New Delhi | PTI

As the Congress sought to take credit for the Women’s Reservation Bill which was tabled in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah hit back at the opposition party, questioning their “double standards” over the issue. The government introduced the constitutional amendment bill in the lower house to reserve one-third of seats for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

Shah noted that the bill brought by the Manmohan Singh government had lapsed following the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha. “The Congress either let legislations lapse or friendly parties prevented tabling of bill. Their double standards will never be hidden,” he said.

The bill, named as Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam, shows the unwavering commitment of the Narendra Modi government to empower women, the home minister said. “People across India are rejoicing introduction of Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam in Parliament,” he said. 

“Sadly, the opposition is unable to digest the bill. What is more shameful is that except tokenism, the Congress has never been serious about women's reservation,” he further said.

Later, in a post on X, the home minister lauded Modi for introducing the bill and said the PM has shown that 'women's empowerment' is not a slogan but a resolution of the Central government.

"Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji has shown the realization of ‘Yatra Naryastu Pujyante, Ramante Tatra Devata’ in the democracy of the country in accordance with the eternal culture of India. The 'Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam' introduced in the Lok Sabha today is a decision that will give our women power and their rights in the true sense," he said.

Earlier, speaking in the first session of the Lok Sabha in the new Parliament building, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the women's reservation bill was first brought in 1989 by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to ensure one-third reservation in local body elections.

"Since then, the Congress has been trying to bring law to ensure one-third reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies," Chowdhury said.

"The bill that came during Manmohan Singh's tenure was passed by the Rajya Sabha and hence is still alive. The CWC (Congress Working Committee) resolution has spoken about this... Even Sonia Gandhi has written to Prime Minister (Narendra Modi). We reiterate our demand for women reservation bill," Chowdhury said.

Refuting his claims, Shah said the old bill has lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

"What Adhir Ji said is factually incorrect. The old bill has lapsed. If he has any supporting document to prove what he said he should table it in the Lok Sabha or withdraw his statement," he said.

Shah also asked Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to remove the statement from record if Chowdhury is unable to provide supporting documents.

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