The Odisha Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a “historic” resolution seeking 33 per cent reservation for women in the legislative assemblies and Parliament. The resolution, moved by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, was passed by a voice vote after a debate in the House on Tuesday night. The members of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supported the resolution.
While moving the resolution, Patnaik had termed the proposal as “historic”. The resolution was passed ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament, which begins on December 11. The Women’s Reservation Bill is pending in Parliament. Currently, the 147-member state assembly has 12 women MLAs.
BJD chief whip Amar Prasad Satpathy said Odisha is ahead of the rest of the states as far as women empowerment is concerned. The BJD’s women lawmakers, including Pramila Mallick and Raseswari Panigrahi, lauded Partnaik’s initiative.
Participating in the debate, BJP legislature party leader KV Singdeo, MLAs Pradip Purohit and Rabi Naik expressed doubts over the motive of the state government behind bringing the resolution.
Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati said it was a political strategy of the ruling BJD to move such a resolution ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The move is aimed at influencing women voters, he said, adding that the Congress has no objection if women get 33 per cent reservation in state assemblies and Parliament.