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BJP divided on women’s Bill, Advani calls MPs meet
Published on 11 Mar. 2010 11:03 PM IST
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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today denied reports that it was divided over the women’s quota Bill but the rift was evident with a section of MPs led by Yogi Adityanath saying that quotas for women were “needless” and would be opposed in the Lok Sabha. As the signs of disquiet grew, veteran leader and chairperson of the BJP parliamentary party LK Advani called for a meeting of the party’s Lok Sabha MPs at his residence over tea this evening. Adityanath, who represents Gorakhpur in the Lower House, openly rebelled against the Bill that seeks to reserve a third of all seats in the country’s legislatures for women. “It is needless. We are against any reservation. Everybody should come to (Parliament) on his/her ability,” he said, adding that the BJP leadership had fallen into a trap of the Congress-led government. “There are other more important issues to be discussed. People are suffering from price rise, there is Maoist insurgency, there is terrorism, and our country is facing grave internal and external security threats. The government wants to deflect attention of the public and MPs from these issues,” Adityanath told IANS outside Parliament. “There is no demand for it from anywhere. Nobody is demanding it. All this is being done to waste time of the House so that more important issues are not discussed,” he said. Asked if he would vote for the Bill when it was brought to the Lok Sabha, Adityanath’s reply was a categoric “no”. “Not even if there is a whip from the party. There is something called internal democracy in the party.” Asked if more MPs in the BJP shared his view, Adityanath said: “The viewpoint is growing and many MPs have understood it.” The BJP leadership had moved quickly after reports of the dissent. BJP Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde said the party fully backed the bill and would issue a whip when it was taken up in the Lok Sabha. Asked about the remarks of Adtiyanath against the bill, Munde said they were his “personal views” but he would abide by the party decision. Answering a query about the meeting at Advani’s residence, Munde said MPs were going to the BJP\’s leader\’s residence for tea as they do “in every session”. BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar also categorically denied any rift over the issue. “Ours is a democratic party. People may have different views. But once the party takes a decision, everyone falls in line.” The BJP’s chief whip, Ramesh Bais, who had said Wednesday that there was great resentment against the proposed legislation, added that his MPs would not defy the party’s fiat to pass the Bill in the Lower House. “Whatever the individual opinions of MPs, all MPs will go with the party decision if it comes up in the Lok Sabha,” he said. The Women’s Reservation Bill was passed by an overwhelming majority in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday after two days of uproarious scenes caused by politicians ranged against it. The Congress, the BJP and the Left parties were the leading backers of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha and have pledged to see it through in the Lok Sabha as well.

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