In a significant address to the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed his wholehearted support for the Women’s Reservation Bill, underscoring the importance of its inclusion of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Gandhi began his speech by acknowledging the honor of speaking in the new Lok Sabha building, emphasizing the historic significance of the moment.
“I stand in support of the Women’s Reservation Bill,” Gandhi declared.
Reflecting on a recent Lok Sabha discussion about the historical transfer of power from British colonial rulers to the people of India, Gandhi invoked the spirit of India’s freedom fighters. He noted that the power was transferred to the people of India during this revolutionary moment, with voting rights granted to all women, making voting the mechanism for power transfer.
Gandhi highlighted the ongoing struggle between those empowering India and those seeking to diminish its power. He praised the empowering of women through the Panchayati Raj system, where they were provided reservations and the opportunity to participate in politics.
While acknowledging the Women’s Reservation Bill as a significant step forward for Indian women, Gandhi expressed his view that the bill is incomplete due to the absence of OBC reservation. He stressed the importance of ensuring that a substantial segment of India’s women have access to reservations.
Gandhi expressed his concern about the need for a new census and delimitation to implement the bill. He questioned the necessity of these steps and suggested that the bill could be implemented immediately.
“Two things seem strange to me. Firstly, the necessity of conducting a new census, and secondly, the delimitation for implementation. This bill can be implemented today. I wonder if this is designed to delay its execution for 7-8 years,” Gandhi remarked.
Gandhi also commented on the absence of the President of India during the transition from the old Lok Sabha building to the new one, suggesting that it would have been fitting to have her present during this historic moment.
Furthermore, Gandhi criticized the government for using distractions to divert attention from important issues, such as the Adani controversy and the caste census. He called on the government to focus on addressing critical matters facing the nation.
Gandhi’s research for his speech revealed a concerning lack of representation of the OBC community in various government institutions. He highlighted that out of the 90 secretaries responsible for managing the government of India, only three are from the OBC community, controlling just 5% of India’s budget. He deemed this situation an insult and shame to the OBC community and stressed the need for a caste census to accurately determine the numbers of OBCs, Dalits, and Adivasis.
Concluding his remarks on the Women’s Reservation Bill, Gandhi asserted, “There is no need for a census and delimitation to implement this bill. Give 33% reservation to women right away.”