Women in rural areas not that attractive: Mulayam

LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today landed himself in a controversy when he remarked that rural women will not benefit from the Women Reservation Bill because they are not as attractive as women who are from the affluent class.

Hindustan Times quoted Mulayam saying: "bade bade gharon ki ladkiya aur mahilayan kewal upar ja sakti hain...yaad rakhna...apko mauka nahi milega..hamare gaon ki mahila me akarshan itna nahin...,”(Only girls and women from affluent class can go forward...remember this..you (rural women) will not get a chance...Our rural women did not have that much attraction)."

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

Mulayam claimed that if the bill is passed, women from affleunt class will be benefitted while those from the backward class will be further pushed back.

Underfire for his statement, 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.

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.

The Bill proposes 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.