New Delhi, July 13: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar will Thursday again try to build consensus at an all-party meet over the controversial women’s reservation bill hanging fire for the last decade and a half.
According to the Lok Sabha secretariat, Meira Kumar will meet leaders of all political parties in a committee room of library building in the parliament complex, the same venue where a similar meeting June 22 ended with differences persisting among political groups.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), known opponents of the legislation that has been okayed by the Rajya Sabha, skipped that meeting.
The speaker has again invited them for the Thursday meeting that is expected to be attended by some independent MPs. However, none from the SP and the BSP confirmed if their representatives will attend the meeting.
Sources said the speaker in her invitation letters sent to political parties asked them to take steps for early passage of the bill in the lower house of parliament.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by the Congress has been relentlessly trying to build an elusive consensus on the contentious bill that is likely to be listed for the monsoon session beginning Aug 1.
The bill, seeking 33 percent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, was passed in the upper house amid high drama in March 2010.
Political parties particularly from the northern states — the SP, the BSP, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) — seeking a quota within the quota for women from Other Backward Classes (OBCs), have obstructed the passage of the bill in parliament.
The battle for greater representation to women in lawmaking has always been hampered by frayed tempers as different governments since 1996 have tried without success to get the bill passed.
It was first drafted by the H.D. Deve Gowda-led United Front government and brought to parliament in September 1996.