Mulayam softens stance on Women’s Reservation Bill


Lucknow : Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, known for his stiff opposition to the Women’s Reservation Bill, Friday seemed to have softened his stand.

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He said that if the Bill served the “interests and welfare of the dalits, Muslims and other backward classes”, he would have no problems with it.

Speaking to reporters after a function in the state capital, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said his opposition to the Women’s Reservation Bill was to the format in which it was tabled in parliament.

“If our viewpoint is considered on the OBCs, minorities and dalits, we will certainly reconsider our stand on the issue,” he said.

“Women have suffered for long, and have been discriminated against. I am of the opinion that society should give an equal chance to them to work for the progress of the country,” the former chief minister of UP later told IANS.

“I would be happy if men and women work together,” he said.

At a meeting in Barabanki, Yadav had Thursday opposed the Bill, saying it was only “going to benefit the richer women and the weaker sections would further lose their hold”.

The Samajwadi Party (SP), along with Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) and Sharad Yadav’s Janata Dal United (JDU), has been bitterly opposing the Bill which envisages 33 percent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

The Bill, passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010, has been stuck in the Lok Sabha owing to bitter opposition from the Yadav trio – Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Yadav and Sharad Yadav.