The Union Cabinet of India, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the Women’s Reservation Bill, which promises 33 percent reservation for women in Parliament and Assemblies. The bill is likely to be tabled in the Lok Sabha for discussion. However, this move poses a litmus test for the unity of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc, as several parties within the alliance have previously opposed the bill in its current form.
Parties like the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Samajwadi Party have demanded a quota for women from backward classes within the 33 percent reservation. The bill requires the support of two-thirds of Lok Sabha members as it’s a constitutional amendment. This development comes as the INDIA bloc is negotiating a complex seat-sharing formula for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The bill was first introduced 27 years ago and has faced multiple challenges and changes over the years. While Congress leaders have expressed support for the bill, it remains to be seen how it will fare in the Lok Sabha, given the varied positions within the INDIA bloc.