After an eventful, emotional Day 1, the Parliament proceedings moved to the new building on September 19, for the second day of its ongoing special session. On the first day, the Union Cabinet meeting scheduled for 6.30 pm in the Parliament annexe building concluded without a press briefing.
New Parliament Building
New Parliament BuildingIANS

Earlier in the day, the scripted speeches and unscripted remarks touched upon almost every single episode of the past 75 years of Parliament's history. The creation of Telangana, the need to re-look at anti-defection law, 15 times when the democracy in India was crushed...the MPs spoke about their experiences, interpretation of the last seven decades.

While a brief row erupted over mention of EU Parliament's discussion on Manipur and remarks against Sanatana Dharma, most of the elected representatives unanimously threw their support for greater representation for women via 33% reservation in seats.

New Parliament, old bill, hopeful beginnings


Amid ruckus in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the long-pending women's reservation bill making it the first bill to be introduced in the new Parliament building. Earlier on Tuesday, while making a pitch for women empowerment, PM Narendra Modi addressed the Rajya Sabha and asked the House to pass the Bill with full majority. The bill pending for 27 years for want of consensus across the nation's political spectrum has been renamed as Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam.

After the Cabinet approved the Women's Reservation Bill on Monday, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Congress MP Ranjeet Ranjan remarked that the bill was introduced during the Congress regime.

Despite being united on the need to push the women's reservation bill, much-needed political debate ensued. Reacting to the introduction of the Bill by the BJP government, the Congress called it a 'jumla' by reminding the government that it was yet to conduct the 2021 Census. "Will delimitation take place after the 2024 polls?" asked the opposition Congress. The Women's Reservation Bill seeks to reserve 33% of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women. It must be noted that the Bill says that women's reservation comes into effect only after the publication of census and delimitation.

What took the bill so long?

Meanwhile, amidst the introduction of the much-awaited Bill, BSP chief Mayawati said that a separate quota for the women from OBC, SC, ST sections in the reservation should be ensured in the bill. First introduced in 2010, it is the demand for a quota within quota (reservation for women for SCs and STs) is what prevented the bill from being cleared in the Parliament all this while. This is despite the fact that it was passed in Rajya Sabha in 2010 itself.

The bill is expected to have a provision for reserving one-third of the seats for women SCs and STs. The earliest that the bill is likely to be implemented is in 2027 after Census and delimitation required for its implementation are expected to be complete. On social media, almost all the leaders from different political parties rushed to congratulate and take credit for the passage of the bill.