India women's bill gains RS vote

Communist Party of India leader Brinda Karat, left, and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj, right, celebrating outside the Indian Parliament. (AP)

India's upper house of parliament or Rajya Sabha (RS) has voted overwhelmingly for a historic bill to increase the number of female lawmakers across the country despite protests from socialist lawmakers.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the 186-1 vote a"historic step forward toward emancipation of Indian womanhood." The vote came after socialist lawmakers blocked the parliamentary debate on Monday and forced the RS to adjourn twice yesterday. The protesters boycotted the voting.

The bill to reserve one-third of legislative seats for women has faced strong opposition since it was first proposed more than a decade ago, with many leaders worried that their parties would lose seats.


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