Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar at the Parliament House in New Delhi.
Putting at rest all speculation about his views on the Women’s Reservation Bill, Nationalist Congress Party leader and a key ally of the United Progressive Alliance government, Sharad Pawar, said here on Thursday that he favoured a 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies. “The Bill should be passed [in the Lok Sabha] as it is,’’ he said.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the Kharif Campaign, 2010, here on Thursday, Mr. Pawar said there is no reservation for minorities or the Other Backward Class under the Constitution. “Therefore, first let the Bill be passed with 33 per cent reservation for women. We don’t want the quota to be reduced,’’ he categorically said.
To a question, Mr. Pawar said he did have a talk with Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh (who is insisting for a quota within quota or for a reduced percentage of reservation for women) but as far as he was concerned, he does not want the quota of 33 per cent to be reduced.
Asked about the controversy over the comments made by former Congress spokesman Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Mr. Pawar said, “that chapter is closed. These things can happen.’’
Asked if he was seeking an apology from Mr. Chaturvedi, who has since been divested of his position as a Congress spokesman, Mr Pawar said, “No.’