‘Disappointed’: BJP’s Uma Bharti on ‘no OBC quota’ in Women’s Reservation Bill

The constitutional amendment bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the BJP-led Union government earlier in the day.

Bhopal: Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti on Tuesday said she was disappointed that the bill reserving 33 per cent seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies does not carve out a quota for women from the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

The constitutional amendment bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the BJP-led Union government earlier in the day.

“I am happy that the women’s reservation bill was introduced, but I am feeling somewhat dejected because it has come without reservation for OBC women. If we do not ensure reservation for OBC women, then their faith in the BJP will be broken,” Bharti, herself a prominent OBC leader of the BJP, told PTI here.

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She wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminding that when a similar bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in the past, she had stood on her seat to oppose it, and later that bill was sent to a standing committee, she said.

When the time came for doing something for the OBCs, “we backtracked,” Bharti added.

“I was confident that the prime minister will take care of it. I wrote a letter in the morning to the PM and maintained silence till the bill was introduced.

“I got very disappointed on seeing that there is no OBC reservation in the bill,” she said, adding “I got disappointed as the chance which the backward class women were supposed to get has not been given to them.”

To a question, she said Muslim women belonging to backward classes too can not be denied the benefit of quota.

On the controversial statements made by DMK leaders about Sanatan Dharma, Bharti said they belong to a school of thought which launched a movement in Tamil Nadu (decades ago) to “cut the tuft and wipe off tilak” (as symbols of Brahminism) but the movement could not stop people from sporting a tuft or wearing tilak or `Janeu’ (sacred thread). Nor did it stop anyone from going to temples, she added.

“So when Sanatan Dharma has not suffered any damage there, why are they raising this debate from a political platform? Better leave the issue of Sanatan Dharma to the Shankaracharyas of the country,” Bharti, once known as a firebrand Hindutva leader, added.

The agenda of development which the prime minister laid out in 2014 should be followed, she said, but also defended Modi’s statements on the controversy, stating that he spoke on it because it was a current issue.

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