Congress President Sonia Gandhi's writ seems to have run and how! The government in a sudden move, almost deceptively, put the women's bill to voice vote in the Rajya Sabha and opened the new chapter in constitutional history.
The government was forced to resort to undemocratic methods due to violent methods of protest adopted by the parties opposing the bill. Some of the members were overpowered by house marshal to bring order in the House.
Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition and a senior leader of Bhartiya Janata Party, who opened the debate, strongly supported the bill but also added that a 'congenial atmosphere' should prevail inside the House. He said, "While I unequivocally support the bill I cannot be happy about what happened in the House."
He said, "We didn't come to house see some of our colleagues being physically lifted and taken out. It would have been better if we were able to conduct this in more congenial manner."
He said that two histories were created in Rajya Sabha. One was that such legislation was being created but at some time as the Rajya Sabha saw unprecedented protests against the bill.
He taunted to Congress that, "let us not forget that when 42nd Amendment was constituted when all those who opposed the bill were jailed. The effect was that when the Emergency was lifted, major changes were brought in the amendment. So even though I disagree with our friends who are protesting we should make sure that their voices are heard and they be allowed to vote against this law."
He also advised the protesting members to allow the overwhelming majority to pass the bill. He said, "You should allow the majority to exercise the democratic right when 85 to 90 percent are supporting the bill."
He told disgruntled members, "You have the right to protest, you have right to dissent but we have to respect each other."
While supporting the bill he said that 50 percent of society is still not represented in the Lok Sabha and even in assemblies. He said in last 63 years the situation of women hasn't changed and without reservation it won't change for the next 63 years. He said India wants to become economic power but women literacy, women's representation is too low in Indian society. He said, 'the politics of tokenism' must be replaced by the 'politics of representation' as far as women are concerned.