The bill will be introduced around noon and the debate will begin minutes later. As is now being anticipated, despite likely disruptions, the House is expected to discuss the bill. In that case, Rajya Sabha will cast a historic vote around 5pm and set in motion the process of women's quota being turned into law.
The vote is the first step in making the 33% quota for women in Parliament and assemblies a reality. The battle in Lok Sabha remains, but the scales will tilt irretrievably. A "yes" vote means West Bengal and Tamil Nadu assemblies, where elections are due in 2011, could have no less than 98 and 78 women MLAs. The next LS will have at least 181 women, up from 59 in the present House.
Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Bansal pointed out that the bill's outright opponents numbered less than 30. "We have to see how the House looks in the morning. But we might have a debate though some situations cannot be fully anticipated," he said. The government has time to bring the bill to Lok Sabha till early next week.