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P Chidambaram Calls Women’s Quota Law “A Pie in the Sky”, Vice-President Hits Back

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday hit out at Congress leader P Chidambaram for his remarks that reservation for women in legislatures was still years away, saying it is shameful to convert ignorance of the people into political equity.

Addressing an event here, Mr Dhankhar said he lacked words to express his anguish on the remarks made on the women’s reservation law by a “senior member of the Rajya Sabha who had been a Union minister and has held high profile positions”.

Without naming Mr Chidambaram, Mr Dhankhar spoke on the former Union minister’s comments, “What is the use of a law that will not be implemented for several years, certainly not before the 2029 Lok Sabha elections?” 

Mr Dhankhar referred to Mr Chidambaram’s remarks posted on X last night that the women’s reservation law is a “teasing illusion, a reflection of the moon in a bowl of water or a pie in the sky”. 

The Vice President dubbed it a “distorted mindset” and wondered whether a sapling planted today would start giving fruits immediately or whether a person would get a degree soon after admission to an institute.

“It is shameful to convert ignorance of the people into political equity,” he said.

The Vice President said the youth of today will have to fight this as they have access to information.

The bill to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies was passed by the Lok Sabha with near unanimity and the Rajya Sabha with unanimity during the special session of Parliament.

President Droupadi Murmu gave assent to the bill on Thursday. Now, it will be officially known as the Constitution (106th Amendment) Act.

According to its provision, “It shall come into force on such date as the central government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.” During a special session of Parliament earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the law as “Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam”.

The law will take some time before being implemented as the next Census and the subsequent delimitation exercise – redrawing of Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies – will ascertain the particular seats being earmarked for women.

The quota for women in the Lok Sabha and assemblies will continue for 15 years and Parliament can later extend the benefit period.

While there is quota within quota for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) women, the opposition had demanded that the benefit be extended to Other Backward Classes.

It had also pressed for its immediate implementation.

There had been several efforts to pass the bill in Parliament since 1996. The last such attempt was made in 2010, when Rajya Sabha had passed a bill for women’s reservation, but the same could not be passed in Lok Sabha.