Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

The reintroduction of the Women’s Reservation Bill by the BJP-led government right before the upcoming general election has raised questions about its true intentions. Article 334A, which allows for women’s reservation, includes a requirement for delimitation based on the first census after the law is enacted. This unnecessary step, along with the timeline set for implementation, raises doubts about the government’s commitment to the cause. Given the government’s history of postponing important matters, it’s hard to believe that women’s reservation will become a reality anytime soon.

The BJP government claims to champion women’s empowerment, but their actions speak otherwise. The presence of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexual harassment, during the discussion of the Bill in Lok Sabha is evidence of this hypocrisy. The BJP’s silence on violence against women in Manipur further emphasizes their lack of seriousness when it comes to women-centric matters. Reports show that the BJP has the highest number of MPs with cases of crimes against women, which raises questions about their commitment to women’s rights.

Additionally, the absence of an OBC quota in the Women’s Reservation Bill exposes the BJP’s lack of commitment to affirmative action and genuine representation. True empowerment means ensuring that women from diverse backgrounds have a voice in the law-making process, not just those from political dynasties and privilege. The OBC population constitutes a significant portion of the country’s population, yet their representation is not considered necessary by the BJP government.

Women’s active political participation is crucial for achieving gender parity and true democracy. A token gesture from PM Modi is not enough to address the deep-rooted inequalities in society. The Women’s Reservation amendment should not be seen as a PR exercise but as a genuine effort towards achieving equal representation. The implementation of the law in the 2024 elections is imperative if India is to truly fulfill its aspirations.

(Reena Gupta is an Advocate and National Spokesperson of Aam Aadmi Party)

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