Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kill Bill ???

The bill that reserves 33 % of the seats in legislatures has been passed in Rajya Sabha but it still has a long way to travel. This bill has been doing the rounds of Indian parliament for close to 14 years and this time with the Left,Right(BJP) and Congress coming together ,the detractors of the bill (read Lalu,Mulayam and Sharad) have had to eat a humble pie at least with its passage in Rajya Sabha. When the bill comes to Lok Sabha, the Yadav trinity will try to create even greater ruckus, but if the Govt. stands it ground, the writing will be pretty much on the wall.
Apart from the politics on the bill, is this really going to help women ? The answer lies somewhere in the middle of an emphatic yes or no. The bill will see women entering legislatures in greater numbers and they will have a voice, but on the other hand most of these women are likely to be proxy candidates for their male relatives. So there is a fair possibility of this bill going the way of reservations in educational institutions and govt. services, which have no doubt helped the backward classes to gain representation but the gains have been very limited and cornered by an elite among the reserved groups. The Yadav chieftains have tried to take a moral highground on the issue stating that they want quota within quota for women of backward classes and minorities , which sounds good only in theory. Lalu installed his wife Rabari as CM of Bihar when it suited him and Mulayam got his daughter-in-law to contest as MP (where she lost to Raj Babbar) to keep the seat within the family. One can fairly understand why they are opposing the bill, pure vested interest and nothing else.Reservation for women in Panchyati Raj has been a tremendous success, though there are instances where the women sarpanch is just a proxy for her male relative, but then nothing can be totally foolproof. This particular bill is a step in the right direction and especially in our male dominated society, it promises to change the power equations even in families in times to come.

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