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All-party meet on Womens Bill tomorrow

New Delhi: With differences persisting over the controversial Women`s Reservation Bill, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has convened an all-party meeting here on Wednesday ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Though the Constitution Amendment Bill has been passed in the Rajya Sabha sometime back, consensus eludes the measure in the Lok Sabha with some parties like SP, RJD and JD-U seeking a quota within quota for women from backward classes.

In a letter to political parties, Kumar has asked them to take steps for early passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha.

The bill granting 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies was passed by the Rajya Sabha after two days of high drama in March 2010.

The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill has been hanging fire for close to 14 years due to lack of political consensus on the issue. It was first drafted by the H D Deve Gowda-led United Front government and brought to Parliament in September 1996.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said that the Government was serious about the Bill as it "got it to Rajya Sabha and also took a little unpleasant dose to see that it is passed."

In a letter to the Speaker, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, during whose tenure the first attempt was made for the passage of the bill, assured his party JD-S` wholehearted support to "any bill which has the unanimous support of all the political parties".

"Consensus has to be the basis and backbone of any such landmark legislation," Gowda said.

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