Rahul Gandhi, a Congress leader, expressed regret for not including an OBC quota in the Women’s Reservation Bill introduced by the UPA government in 2010. He called the bill a distraction from the demand for a caste census. Gandhi acknowledged his regret, stating it should have been done at the time and that they will work towards it now.
In 2010, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal had demanded an OBC quota within the bill, which the Congress-led UPA rejected, leading to their withdrawal of support. The bill passed in the Rajya Sabha but never made it to the Lok Sabha.
Gandhi criticized the government for delaying the Women’s Reservation Bill by citing the need for delimitation and census, which he viewed as diversionary tactics. He questioned the government’s commitment to OBC representation and the delay in implementing the bill.
Gandhi stressed the importance of caste census data and the need for fair distribution of power among the common people. He called for transparency in releasing previous caste census data and asked why only three secretaries out of 90 are OBCs.
Regarding providing a quota within a quota, Gandhi suggested going step by step, starting with conducting a caste census. He emphasized that data is crucial for making informed decisions about representation.
Gandhi criticized the poor representation of marginalized communities during both the Congress-led UPA government and the present government, emphasizing the need for change.
These remarks followed the recent passage of the women’s reservation bill in Parliament, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailing it as a historic moment. The bill requires approval from state assemblies and will be implemented after a delimitation exercise based on a future census.