Millennium Post

TMC for Women's Reservation Bill, electoral reforms

New Delhi: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) here on Sunday demanded passage of the Women's Reservation Bill in the upcoming parliamentary session and use of ballot papers in elections.

Speaking at an all-party meeting ahead of the Parliament session starting on Monday, the TMC asked the government to bring ordinances only in emergency situations.

TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O'Brien spoke about electoral reforms, raising the issue of state funding of polls and use of paper ballot in place of electronic voting machines (EVMs).

The TMC demand came as it lost ground to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal. The TMC tally came down to 22 from 34 in 2014, while the BJP, which had two MPs from the state in 2014, won 18 Lok Sabha seats in this elections.

Stating that about 75 per cent of bills were sent to the parliamentary committees for scrutiny during 14th and 15th Lok Sabha, the West Bengal leaders said in the 16th Lok Sabha only 25 per cent bills were referred to House panels. It meant Parliament was bypassed, they added.

They demanded that the Women's Reservation Bill, ensuring a third of all seats to women in legislatures, should be passed in this session.

In the 16th Lok Sabha, about 35 per cent of the TMC members were women, while it's 41 per cent in the current House.

On federalism, the TMC leaders said the BJP-led central government was deliberately targeting states and this was unacceptable. They argued the ordinance should be used as an "emergency" tool in the spirit of the Constitution.

It was blatantly overused by the BJP government during the 16th Lok Sabha, they alleged.

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