Women’s quota bill: Stalin wants assurance from PM that delimitation of LS seats won’t hit TN

The DMK president said if the BJP was genuinely concerned about ensuring 33% reservation for women, it should have been done just after they came to power.  

Published: 20th September 2023 02:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th September 2023 04:03 PM   |  A+A-

Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin

A file photo Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI:   Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday welcomed the women's quota Bill but said instead of passing token bills, we must work towards genuine and meaningful change. “People are clever enough to see through the BJP’s empty rhetoric as the reservation would come into effect only after a delimitation exercise is carried out on the basis of a yet-to-be-held census,” Stalin said in a nine-page statement issued on Wednesday.  

Stalin also sought assurance from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that southern states, particularly Tamil Nadu, would not see a reduction in the number of representatives elected to Lok Sabha under the delimitation exercise to be carried out based on population. The union government must also not ignore the demands for representation for BC and OBC women in the bill, he said. 

Stalin said the delimitation process is a ‘Sword of Damocles’ hanging over the heads of Tamil Nadu and south Indian states as it would reduce the number of representatives elected to Parliament from these states. This political conspiracy should be thwarted. The attempt to betray Tamil Nadu, a politically conscious state, should be nipped in the bud, the CM said.

‘TN likely to lose 8 seats in delimitation’

“It is unjust that southern states, which have diligently followed the union government’s policies to control population growth, must face punitive measures during constituency delimitation,” he said. The delimitation exercise completed in 1976 on the basis of the 1971 population census reduced the number of Lok Sabha seats for TN by two. In the 2026 delimitation exercise, the state is likely to lose eight more seats while the number of Lok Sabha seats for northern states would go up.

This would reduce the political representation of southern states. “DMK, which has been a relentless crusader for women’s rights for the past 75 years, has consistently supported their reservation and wholeheartedly welcomes the bill. The BJP government displayed a lack of commitment in passing the women’s reservation bill,” Stalin said.

Stalin also said the BJP, did not actively engage in discussions regarding the women’s quota bill until the 2024 polls. “Regrettably, the current bill’s effectiveness is contingent on the completion of the delayed census and subsequent delimitation process in 2026, thereby postponing its realisation until 2029. People are clever enough to see through the BJP’s empty rhetoric,” he said.

He added, “In 1996, then CM M Karunanidhi gave 33% reservation to women in local bodies. Now, it has gone up to 50%.” Stalin also pointed out that the bill to provide 33% reservation to women has been pending for 27 long years.

In 1996, the Centre in which DMK was a partner introduced the bill for the first time. In 2005, again the then Centre, in which DMK was a partner, introduced the bill. But the BJP which promised to support the bill opposed it. BJP woman MP Uma Bharathi stoutly opposed the bill. Those who opposed it in the past include Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath.

The CM also recalled that after much effort by Congress, DMK, and other parties, the UPA government introduced the bill on March 8 in Rajya Sabha in 2010 and it was passed the next day. However due to opposition from a few parties, the bill could not be passed in the Lok Sabha. In 2017, on behalf of the DMK, Kanimozhi MP led a procession pressing for 33% reservation.

A few days ago, a resolution was also passed at the DMK MPs’ meeting. Stalin also pointed out that according to the Global Gender Gap Index, 2022, India stood at 48th place among 146 countries. In Indian Parliament and legislatures, women’s representation is low and through the 33% reservation, this shortcoming could be addressed, he said.

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