Women members chant PM Modi’s name, present bouquet to him after historic passage of women’s quota Bill in Parliament

NEW DELHI: As the landmark women's reservation Bill, aptly titled 'Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam', was passed by the Parliament on Thursday, marking a giant leap in the empowerment of one-half of the country's population, chants of 'Modi Modi' were raised by women MPs as they took turns to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the passage of the draft legislation.

Women members from both Houses of Parliament, including PT Usha, and Union Ministers Meenakashi Lekhi and Smriti Irani, were all smiles as they presented a bouquet to Prime Minister Modi on the historic passage of the Bill in Parliament.

The draft legislation, which has featured prominently in the national political discourse and had even been part of the legislative agenda of the Parliament, finally saw the light of day on Thursday.

The Bill, which provides for 33 per cent reservation for women in the Parliament as well as the state legislative assemblies, was passed unanimously in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, with 214 members voting in support and none against.

Even as both the Houses were adjourned sine die after the women's quota cleared the final legislative hurdle in the Upper House, chants of 'Modi, Modi' rang out in the new Parliament complex as the women members mobbed PM Modi and exchanged compliments with him.

Earlier, on Wednesday, the Bill aced the legislative test in the Lok Sabha as it was passed by a brute majority of 454 votes in favour and just 2 against.

Earlier, Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal gave a brief reply to the day-long debate on the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023 in the Upper House, saying it will be implemented after following due process.

Ahead of the voting, PM Modi urged the Rajya Sabha members to pass the Bill unanimously.

He said the Bill would instil new belief and confidence in the people.

"All members and political parties have played a significant role in empowering women and enhancing 'Nari Shakti'. Let us give the country a strong message," he said.

PM Modi said over 132 members in either House took part in the meaningful discussion on the draft legislation, which will be helpful in taking the country forward.

The amendments moved by the Opposition members were negatived and individual clauses of the draft legislation were also voted on.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar announced that the Bill had been passed. "It is a historic achievement. Congratulations," he said.

"It is only a coincidence...as per the Hindu calendar, today is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday," he said.

PM Modi folded his hands at the chairman's remarks.

The 'Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam' is the first Bill passed by Parliament after it shifted to the new Parliament building on Tuesday. PM Modi had announced the government's intention to bring it on Monday.

The Bill was passed in the two Houses by a majority of the total membership of the House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the House "present and voting".

Participating in the debate in Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge said the government must also give a definite date for implementation.

"Their members have said that they do not lack commitment. If there is commitment then tell when will it be implemented, otherwise it is just jumla," he said.

Kharge referred to BJP chief JP Nadda's dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remarks about the "five per cent" representation of OBCs among the secretaries in various ministries.

"JP Nadda was taunting us about our demand for more OBC representation among government secretaries. Do you have people from SC and ST communities in principal or joint secretary posts? People from RSS have been placed, there is a member of RSS with every minister," Kharge said.

He said the government can implement it from the 2024 Lok Sabha polls if it wants. He also sought reservation for OBCs in the bill.

In her remarks, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Bill is an article of faith for the BJP.

"I want to credit former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao's government for having brought in 33 per cent reservation in the panchayat raj at that time. As a result, we have seen a groundswell at the panchayat level, where 33 per cent reservation today, by many states it has been increased to 50 per cent...showing the contribution of women at the panchayat level," she said.

"...In women-related matters...we do not play any politics. It is an article of faith for the Prime Minister and therefore we do everything that we have done whether it is Article 370, triple talaq, or now the Women's Reservation Bill," she added.

She answered questions from opposition members over the delay in the implementation of the bill.

"After the Bill is enacted and after the Bill comes into operation...Whenever the first census takes place and the relevant figures for that census are published, a fresh delimitation exercise shall be undertaken," she said.

Replying to Kharge's question about when the Bill will be implemented Meghwal said there should be no doubts.

"Do not doubt(about implementation)...'Modi Hai Toh Mum, kin Hai'...," he said.

There was an electronic display as members voted in the new chamber of Rajya Sabha for the first time.

The Rajya Sabha passed the Women's Reservation Bill in 2010 during the Congress-led UPA government but it could not be taken up in the Lok Sabha.

The new Women's Reservation Bill was passed during the Special Session of Parliament which began on Monday.


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