Very disappointed that there is no OBC quota in reservation for women: BJP leader Uma Bharti

 "I got disappointed as the chance which the backward class women were supposed to get has not been given to them," the senior BJP leader said.

Published: 19th September 2023 11:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2023 11:32 PM   |  A+A-

BJP leader and former Union Minister Uma Bharti (File | PTI)


BHOPAL: Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti on Tuesday said she was disappointed that the bill reserving 33 per cent seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies does not carve out a quota for women from the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she demanded that half the seats in the women's quota be reserved for SC/STs and OBCs, and backward-class women from the Muslim community should also get a benefit.

The constitutional amendment bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the BJP-led Union government earlier in the day.

It proposes that the reservation will continue for 15 years and there will be one-third quota for women also within the seats reserved for SC/STs.

"I am happy that the women's reservation bill was introduced, but I am feeling somewhat dejected because it has come without reservation for OBC women. If we do not ensure reservation for OBC women, then their faith in the BJP will be broken," Bharti, herself a prominent OBC leader of the BJP, told PTI here.

In the letter to Modi, Bharti said, "The 33 per cent reservation for women in legislature is a special provision. It should be ensured that out of this 33 per cent, 50 per cent is reserved for women belonging to SC/ST and OBC communities."

In the Panchayati Raj and local bodies there is a provision for special reservation for the backward class women, she added.

She also demanded that there be a provision for the women belonging to backward classes in the Muslim community, as identified by the Mandal Commission.

Bharti further reminded Modi that when a similar bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha (when H D Deve Gowda was prime minister) she had stood up immediately to oppose it and demand changes, and the bill was sent to a standing committee.

When the time came for doing something for the OBCs, "we backtracked," Bharti said, talking to reporters.

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"I was confident that the prime minister will take care of it. I wrote a letter in the morning to the PM and maintained silence till the bill was introduced. I got very disappointed on seeing that there is no OBC reservation in the bill," she said, adding "I got disappointed as the chance which the backward class women were supposed to get has not been given to them."

On the controversial statements made by DMK leaders about Sanatan Dharma, Bharti said they belong to a school of thought that launched a movement in Tamil Nadu (decades ago) to "cut the tuft and wipe off tilak" (as symbols of Brahminism) but the movement could not stop people from sporting a tuft or wearing tilak or 'Janeu' (sacred thread).

Nor did it stop anyone from going to temples, she added.

"So when Sanatan Dharma has not suffered any damage there, why are they raising this debate from a political platform? Better leave the issue of Sanatan Dharma to the Shankaracharyas of the country," Bharti, once known as a firebrand Hindutva leader, added.

The agenda of development which the prime minister laid out in 2014 should be followed, she said, but also defended Modi's statements on the controversy, stating that he spoke on it because it was a current issue.

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