Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced his support for the contentious Women's Reservation Bill that will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
His stance has taken those leaders fighting against the bill, including Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief Mulauyam Singh and his own party chief Janata Dal - United president Sharad Yadav, by surprise.
"I am in support of the Women's Reservation Bill in its present form; it should be pushed through legislation soon," Nitish Kumar told newspersons on Saturday.
The Yadav trio has opposed the bill tooth and nail, demanding further reservations within the bill for women form backward castes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
"My stand is clear, I am for passing of the bill in Parliament" said Nitish.
Nitish Kumar said that he will talk to his party leaders, including Sharad Yadav, about the matter.
He clarified that he supported the quota-within-quota demand, but did not want the historical bill to be delayed due to that. "First, the Women's Reservation Bill should get through without further delay. The quota-within-quota demand should not become a big hurdle," he said.
Pointing out that Bihar was the first state in the country to reserve 50 per cent seats in panchayats for women, he said, "It was a big success and inspiration for others to follow because it helped in the empowerment of women".