Indian political parties unite over women’s reservation bill
In a rare act of political camaraderie, Leaders of the Congress (the ruling party) and the Left (Communists) in India came together for the first time since their fell out in 2008 over political differences.
They participated in a rally to press for 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha (Lower House) and the state Assemblies, as proposed in a bill passed in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) in March but not yet tabled in the Lok Sabha.
Although both the Congress and the Left have championed the proposed legislation throughout its stop-start progress, they have never “hit the streets” together on the issue. The Rajya Sabha passed the bill during the budget session amid protests by the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Janata Dal (United).
The Telegraph (of India) reports that the government hopes to introduce the bill in the Lok Sabha during the monsoon session amid overt and covert opposition from male MPs from many parties.
Some of the women’s activists had earlier met the Indian President Pratibha Patil who is India's first woman President. “The President has asked us to continue our fight till we succeed,’’ women’s rights activist Jyotsna Chatterjee said.