Close to the midnight hour on the last day of the special session of parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen posing for photos with hordes of laughing, chattering women MPs at the new building. The group had gathered to record a historic moment — the passing of the women’s reservation bill that allows them 33 per cent reservation in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
A huge bouquet was presented to the Prime Minster and the women, cutting across party lines, offered sweets to each other.
The initiative — planned for decades — finally tasted success today with the passing of the bill in the Rajya Sabha. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
The passage through Rajya Sabha was special — it was unanimous with no abstention or negative voting. There were two negative votes in the Lok Sabha yesterday. It got the approval of an overwhelming majority of 454 MPs, showing the opposition, despite its reservation about the time frame of implementation, had chosen to back the bill.
PM Modi called it a “defining moment” in the nation’s democratic journey.
“I thank all the Rajya Sabha MPs who voted for the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. Such unanimous support is indeed gladdening,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter.
“This is not merely a legislation; it is a tribute to the countless women who have made our nation. India has been enriched by their resilience and contributions. As we celebrate today, we are reminded of the strength, courage, and indomitable spirit of all the women of our nation. This historic step is a commitment to ensuring their voices are heard even more effectively,” he added.
A defining moment in our nation’s democratic journey! Congratulations to 140 crore Indians.
I thank all the Rajya Sabha MPs who voted for the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. Such unanimous support is indeed gladdening.
With the passage of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam in…
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 21, 2023
The quota can only be implemented after a census and delimitation exercise, which, under Constitution’s Article 82, can be conducted after 2026, which pushes the implementation to 2029 or beyond. While the government has said that the census and delimitation will begin after next year’s general election, implementing quota sooner may call for a constitutional amendment.
The Opposition has put on record two key demands — immediate implementation of quota and a sub-category of reservation for women from Other Backward Classes.