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NEW DELHI: The only member in Rajya Sabha, who voted against the Women’s Reservation Bill to provide one-third of all seats in India’s parliament for women, was Sharad Joshi of a little-known party Shetkari Sangathana of Maharashtra.
He said he supported women’s empowerment but the bill would only prove fatal to Indian democracy, as two-third of the elected representatives would be inexperienced.
He also stressed that the two-third of the MPs and MLAs would lose interest in serving their constituencies as they would be unsure of a second term, and that includes all female representatives. It will be fatal if the MPs and MLAs lose interest in public service, the cause for which they enter politics, he added. “Has the reservation actually ever benefited any of the targeted communities? Our experience has not been very pleasant,” Joshi affirmed while advocating a system of proportional representation instead of a party list that would solve all the problems linked with reservation.
Rotation: Joshi said the bill provides for a rotation system that will create practical problems and damage democracy, adding that the idea that was ignored by the advocates of women’s empowerment.
“Moreover, once a woman is elected, she would know that she does not stand a chance of getting the `woman reserved constituency’ again. Therefore, she would not be equally enthusiastic about serving the constituency,” Joshi said, pointing out that the same would be the case with male MPs and MLAs as half of their constituencies would be reserved for women in the next elections. A major effect of this predicament would be that all the constituencies would be poorly nursed. This kind of reservation will make it impossible for any House to have more than 33 percent “repeaters” anytime, he added.