In a strong and critical statement, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah, has strongly criticized the BJP-led central government for what he sees as roadblocks hindering the implementation of the Women’s Reservation Bill. Siddaramaiah accuses the BJP of being hypocritical, claiming that they have made it difficult for the bill to become a reality by introducing obstacles like conducting a census, redrawing electoral boundaries (delimitation), and by limiting the bill’s duration to 15 years.
The Women’s Reservation Bill, which requires that 33 percent of seats in the Lok Sabha, state legislatures, and the Delhi assembly be reserved for women, was approved by Parliament but now faces significant delays in being put into practice. Siddaramaiah is doubtful about when the bill’s provisions will actually take effect, suggesting it might not happen until after 2034, which would make the law essentially meaningless.
During a seminar called ‘Women’s Reservation,’ Siddaramaiah raised questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dedication to the cause. He pointed out that despite Modi’s claim that he was chosen by God to implement women’s reservations, the actual progress on this front has been limited.
Siddaramaiah emphasized his party’s long-standing support for women’s reservations and social justice, mentioning that the Congress party itself drafted the bill. He also suggested expanding the bill to include reservations for women from backward classes and increasing the reservation quota from 33 percent to 50 percent.
Siddaramaiah cautioned the public against prematurely assuming that the Women’s Reservation Bill had been fully put into practice, warning that the BJP’s introduction of obstacles, like delimitation, could be seen as deceptive to women.
While Union Home Minister Amit Shah has expressed optimism about the bill eventually becoming law, Siddaramaiah’s criticisms highlight that there are significant challenges and uncertainties in the path toward achieving gender equality in India’s legislative bodies.